New BDC Capital report measures D&I within its VC direct investment portfolio

Montreal, QC - June 21, 2021 BDC Capital, the investment arm of BDC, has published a new report assessing the diversity and inclusion (D&I) of its active direct investment portfolio. The voluntary survey was completed by 95 companies (or 54% of the portfolio). BDC Capital is one of the first venture capital investors in Canada to survey its portfolio on diversity and inclusion.

“In an industry dependent on innovation, we are limiting our potential when we don’t embrace D&I,” said Jérôme Nycz, Executive Vice President, BDC Capital. “As the most active venture capital investor in Canada, we are committed to improving the diversity and inclusion within our team, in our direct funds, and through our indirect fund investments. This report is one step in our journey to help us understand, and measure, our impact as an investor and a tool to help our portfolio companies.”

Of the companies that responded to the survey, diverse employee representation in the BDC Capital portfolio includes: 35% women+, 43% racial and ethnic minorities, 13% LGBTQ2+, 18% have a disability or mental health challenge, and less than 1% Indigenous. Diverse representation decreases within the executive ranks (C-suite): 22% are women+, 32% are racial and ethnic minorities, 10% are LGBTQ2+, and 11% have a disability or mental health challenge. According to Diversio, these numbers are comparable to other venture funds in North America.

“Companies across Canada are making commitments to improve their diversity, but often don’t know how to turn those intentions into real, lasting change,” said Laura McGee, CEO, Diversio. “Success requires you to gather data, track metrics, and implement results-oriented programs to create a truly inclusive culture for all employees. Diversio’s mission is to help organizations do exactly this through the use of data and AI, and we are thrilled to be working with BDC Capital on this goal."

When it comes to inclusion, Diversio measures against six metrics: inclusive culture, fair management, career development, workplace flexibility, workplace safety, and hiring and recruitment. Across five of six metrics, inclusion scores rank lower for the non-dominant groups. The key takeaways include:

  • Women+ and LGBTQ2+ individuals experience the greatest levels of bias from managers
  • Persons with a disability or those struggling with mental health score lowest on career development and inclusivity metrics
  • From an intersectionality perspective Black women and mixed-race Women had the lowest inclusion scores (by far)

Nycz added, “What this data reinforces to us is we still have a lot of work to do. It’s important to us to not only support D&I in our portfolio, but also encourage a growing diversity of GPs and capital providers because ultimately, we want the people making investment decisions to be as diverse as the underlying community of founders.”

Delivering on this goal, starts internally with a measurable action plan and extends to both direct and indirect investing. Since 2017, D&I questions have been part of BDC Capital’s due diligence on investments. The Bank also helps co-create funds committed to diversity including StandUp Ventures and the Black Innovation Fund. Plus, it offers two scholarships to the Kauffman Fellows Program to increase diversity within the investment industry.

BDC Capital helps drive D&I within the Canadian venture capital ecosystem by helping to establish reporting standards and best practices, and sits on the D&I committees for the Canadian Venture Capital Association (CVCA), Institutional Limited Partners Association (ILPA) and Reseau Capital. BDC Capital was also a founding signatory of the ILPA Diversity in Action Initiative last year. As an organization, BDC was named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers in 2021 for the 11th time.

Download the full survey or learn more about Diversio by visiting their website at diversio.com.

About BDC Capital

BDC Capital is the investment arm of BDC, the bank for Canadian entrepreneurs. With over $3 billion under management, BDC Capital serves as a strategic partner to the country’s most innovative firms. It offers businesses a full spectrum of capital, from seed investments to growth equity, supporting Canadian entrepreneurs who have the ambition to stand out on the world stage. Visit bdc.ca/capital.

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