BDC boosts its financing activities to an all-time high, supports record number of entrepreneurs through COVID-19 pandemic

MONTREAL, Dec 13, 2021—BDC, Canada’s bank for entrepreneurs, today released details of its 2021 fiscal annual report. As a result of its actions to reinforce Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bank supported a record number of entrepreneurs and financing transactions for the period from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021.

“By any measure, the past year was one of the most extraordinary in our history. The COVID-19 pandemic caused extreme hardship for business owners in every part of the country, and BDC was right there by their side to help,” says Stefano Lucarelli, BDC’s Chief Financial Officer. “Thanks to upgrades in our digital lending capabilities, reallocation of resources, and the hard work of our employees, we authorized over $9 billion in financing during fiscal 2021, and onboarded 10,000 new clients, supporting a total of 72,000 business owners.”

Enhanced support for entrepreneurs in a time of need

BDC was among the first organizations to support entrepreneurs when the pandemic struck by quickly deploying measures to provide additional financing. Throughout the year, BDC played a key role in Canada’s whole-of-government response, leading the way in the development and roll-out of programs to support businesses hit by the pandemic. In fiscal 2021, the Bank:

  • Authorized close to $2.6 billion in direct financing specifically designed as a COVID response, helping over 17,000 business owners ensure continuity of operations.
  • Deployed Co-Lending and Mid-Market Financing programs, as part of the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP), authorizing close to $1 billion for 800 Canadian businesses in partnership with private sector financial institutions.
  • Developed the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP), working with over 50 private sector financial institutions to provide low-interest loans to businesses in sectors significantly impacted by the pandemic.
  • Invested $180 million in venture-backed companies through the Bridge Financing Program, developed to support some of Canada’s most promising and fastest-growing tech start-ups.

These actions, along with the many financial aid programs set up by governments across the country, meant that more businesses were able to fund their cashflow needs to ensure business continuity during this period of uncertainly. BDC experienced lower losses than expected due to an improving economic outlook and was able to reduce its provisions on expected credit losses for loans which had been significantly increased in 2020.

Strong financial performance

Overall, BDC earned a consolidated net income of $1.6 billion in fiscal 2021. As a result of its strong financial performance, the Bank paid a $735 million dividend to the Government of Canada, its sole shareholder. The remaining profit will be re-invested into new programs to be launched to better serve SMEs and create greater economic impact.

“BDC’s exceptional results reflect the resilience of Canadian entrepreneurs, despite the many challenges they have faced over the past 18 months. It’s a testament to the state of the Canadian economy, which is doing much better than expected thanks in part to strong consumption and a rebound in exports,” adds Lucarelli.

BDC’s financial results largely benefitted from a significant increase in the unrealized fair value appreciation of its investment portfolio. This increase reflects the very positive performance of its investee companies, and a strong venture capital market.

Contributing to a greener and more inclusive economy

BDC supports entrepreneurs using an inclusive and sustainable approach. During fiscal 2021, it:

  • Achieved—ahead of schedule—its three-year goal to provide $1.4 billion in loans to majority women-owned businesses. It has renewed its commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs by committing to a new target of reaching 19,000 women business owners by March 31, 2024.
  • Continued to invest in Canadian cleantech firms. Since 2018, BDC invested more than half a billion dollars to help them innovate and grow, making its Cleantech Practice one of Canada’s largest and most active investors of its kind.
  • Worked with the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA) to create a $150 million Indigenous Growth Fund, Canada’s largest Indigenous social impact fund.
  • Provided support specifically for Black entrepreneurs through a variety of initiatives, including the Black Entrepreneurs Startup Program, an expanded partnership with Futurpreneur to support young Black entrepreneurs.

In addition, BDC committed to becoming carbon neutral in its operations by 2025 and to apply the principles of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure.

“Although the pandemic brought challenges for Canadian businesses, it also demonstrated a strong entrepreneurship spirit,” concludes Lucarelli. “Throughout the recovery, BDC will be there to help business owners go forward, supporting them whether they rebuild or pursue new opportunities.”

About BDC

BDC is the bank for Canadian entrepreneurs. Its purpose is to support small and mid-sized businesses in all industries and at all stages of growth. Whether business owners want to take on new markets, make their operations more efficient, acquire another business or everything in between, BDC provides access to financing, as well as advisory services to meet their needs. BDC’s investment arm, BDC Capital, offers a wide range of risk capital solutions. BDC supports underserved entrepreneurs and emergent industries to generate greater social and economic impact. BDC is also certified B Corp and actively contributes to the growth of a worldwide movement of entrepreneurs who create inclusive and sustainable prosperity. For more information on BDC’s solutions, and to consult more than 1,000 free tools and articles, visit bdc.ca.

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