Logo - Business Development Bank of Canada - BDC

BDC’s one-of-a-kind $100M Thrive Lab launches first $35M co-investment phase with call for partners, aims to propel women-led social impact businesses

Montreal – July 12, 2023 BDC, Canada’s bank for entrepreneurs, today announced the details around the Thrive Lab’s first phase, which will be built around a co-investment model with like-minded partners focused on supporting women-led businesses at the earliest stages of development.

BDC is actively seeking partners with a proven history of supporting women entrepreneurs and those committed to providing additional capital, or "sweat equity" in the form of time, training, or resources. They could include accelerators, incubators, or accredited angel groups, and will be announced in the fall. BDC has earmarked $35M for this first phase.

Over the next five years, BDC’s Thrive Lab will provide $100M in equity and equity-like investments, plus training and support, for at least 100 ambitious, women-led businesses (in any sector) committed to delivering social impact, alongside financial return.

“Being at the forefront of change requires bold, ambitious moves,” said Sévrine Labelle, Managing Director, Thrive Lab. “We know it’s possible to build a thriving business with the potential to scale and drive transformational societal change. As an impact investor, we will co-invest capital and time with like-minded partners to fuel these changemakers, creating a stronger community of impact investors in Canada, and a pipeline of future female leaders.”

The Lab’s investments will primarily target businesses aligned with five United Nations Social Development Goals (UN SDG) where women-led impact businesses are highly active, including food security, reduced inequalities, health and well-being, education, and responsible consumption. However, the Lab’s goal is to cast as wide a net as possible for the biggest impact and will therefore also consider any positive social impacts aligned with one of the UN SDGs.

“For BDC, the Thrive Lab is a rich opportunity to address a market gap by bringing complementary capital to private sector partners that have a deep knowledge and expertise working with the earliest stage women-led businesses. Women are exponentially more likely to embed social impact as part of their core business, yet they remain underrepresented and underfunded compared to their male counterparts,” added Isabelle Hudon, President and CEO, BDC. “We know the research shows businesses that prioritize sustainability flourish, so Thrive Lab will play a catalyst role in creating a more sustainable economy, one women-led, socially-minded company at a time.”

Working collaboratively, the Lab is designed to experiment and adapt. Developing new ways of providing support, always in line with the needs of women-led businesses at the earliest stages of development. The Lab plays a complementary role between entrepreneurs and investors: supporting high-potential businesses at their earliest stages of development and connecting them to additional sources of funding (capital or financing) as their business grows and creating a larger pool of investors who value impact investing.

The Thrive Lab is part of BDC’s $500M Thrive Platform. Announced in Fall 2022, it is the largest investment platform in the world supporting women-led businesses and includes three components: the $300M Thrive Venture Fund, a $100M Indirect Investment Envelope, and the $100M Thrive Lab.

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. 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.


Your privacy

BDC uses cookies to improve your experience on its website and for advertising purposes, to offer you products or services that are relevant to you. By clicking ῝I understand῎ or by continuing to browse this site, you consent to their use.

To find out more, consult our Policy on confidentiality.