Amid the Crowdstrike global outage, we are manually processing transactions and prioritizing clients with urgent disbursements planned for today. We invite our clients with time sensitive transactions to contact their BDC representatives directly for more information.

Amid the Crowdstrike global outage, we are manually processing transactions and prioritizing clients with urgent disbursements planned for today. We invite our clients with time sensitive transactions to contact their BDC representatives directly for more information.

BDC boosts commitment to inclusive entrepreneurship and invests $250M

Montreal, June 19, 2024– The faces of entrepreneurship are changing. Despite a two-decade decline in the overall entrepreneur population, the number of Indigenous and Black-led businesses is growing, counteracting this trend.  To ensure these business creators can thrive, BDC has created a dedicated Inclusive Entrepreneurship team, is launching a $50 million financing and training program, and investing $200 million in Indigenous and Black-led businesses.  

“Too many underrepresented entrepreneurs continue to face the same barriers that existed a decade, or even a generation ago,” said Isabelle Hudon, President and CEO, BDC. “Despite a lot of positive strides, we just aren’t moving quickly enough. It’s clear a one-size-fits-all approach does not work and, like the entrepreneurs we serve, we must innovate. The initiatives announced today are part of BDC’s efforts to drive greater economic impacts and increase productivity.” 

As a development bank, BDC takes on more risk to help entrepreneurs and grow the economy. The bank identifies market gaps, and partners with others to create solutions that address the unique challenges faced by entrepreneurs and that mainstream lenders can use. Using this same innovative approach, BDC is aiming to propel more businesses with three key initiatives.  

The bank’s new Inclusive Entrepreneurship Team leads with an inclusion mindset and puts that intention at the centre of every client experience. They have increased accountability with measurable targets around business development entrepreneur training, and are already testing regional programs with business centres to better serve entrepreneurs where they are.  

Recognizing the barriers are highest, and trust is lowest, among the smallest and earliest-stage businesses, their first act was creating a new $50M program that provides loans, plus training, for businesses that are majority-owned by women, Indigenous and Black entrepreneurs and have revenues under $3 million.  

Lastly, BDC Capital, BDC’s investment arm, is creating two new $100M platforms to support Indigenous and Black-led businesses. This will complement the $500M Thrive Platform for Women (launched in 2022) which includes Indigenous and Black women entrepreneurs. The team is currently working to hire key roles from the Black and Indigenous communities and collaborating with them to design and set objectives for the platforms. More details will come later this year. 

“A critical driver of creating intergenerational wealth for Black communities is equitable support for Black-owned businesses,” said Lise Birikundavyi, Managing Partner, BKR Capital. “With less than 0.5% of venture capital dollars in North America going towards Black entrepreneurs, there is a clear gap to fill. Since we started our fund focused on Black founders, we have seen an incredible amount of quality opportunities, and we believe it is great news to see an organization like BDC join forces to create a more diversified and robust venture capital industry.” 

These initiatives expand BDC’s long-standing support for diverse entrepreneurs. Last year, BDC increased its women and Indigenous clients by 11% and 22% respectively. To date, BDC has committed over $8B dollars to underserved business owners directly through programs like the Indigenous Entrepreneur Loan and Thrive Fund, and indirectly through partners like Futurpreneur, FACE, NACCA, BKR Capital, and Raven Capital. Hundreds of free education resources are also available at bdc.ca.  

BDC’s mission is to support Canadian entrepreneurs to build strong and resilient businesses and, in doing so, contribute to creating a more prosperous, competitive, and inclusive Canada. Its corporate values - United for Entrepreneurs, Powered by People, and Courageously Impactful - are the building blocks of BDC’s corporate DNA. These values connect what the organization stands for to how it delivers on its mandate and corporate strategy. 

Additional Quotes 

“Indigenous Peoples are among the fastest growing populations in Canada and represent the highest growing segment of entrepreneurs,” said Althea Wishloff (Gitxsan Nation, Fireweed Clan), General Partner, Raven Indigenous Capital Partners. “At Raven, we have learned that taking a platform approach, supporting, and mentoring founders, while providing equity and equity-like capital in a culturally sensitive way is of utmost importance. We look forward to the growth of the ecosystem, new businesses being born and new co-investors emerging.”  

“Women make up half our population and workforce, yet less than 20% are majority owners in Canadian businesses,” said Marwa Abdou, Senior Research Director, Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “Our most recent report found progress is moving at a glacial pace in entrepreneurship and representation and unless radical changes are made, gender parity is more than a century away. It’s great to see organizations like BDC continuing to invest new and innovative approaches like the Thrive Platform which is the world’s largest venture fund in the world for women.” 

About BDC

As Canada’s bank for entrepreneurs, BDC is a partner of choice for all entrepreneurs looking to access the financing and advice they need to build their businesses and tackle the big challenges of our time. Our investment arm, BDC Capital, offers a wide range of risk capital solutions to help grow the country’s most innovative firms. We are one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers and Canada’s Best Diversity Employers. BDC was the first financial institution in Canada to receive the B Corp certification in 2013 and it is the B Corp movement’s national partner in Canada. For more information on BDC’s products and services and to consult free tools, templates and articles, visit bdc.ca or join BDC on social media.

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