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One year later: BDC hits $110M+ in new support for Canada’s creative industries, eclipses $30 M target

Ottawa, February 1, 2024 The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), Canada’s bank for entrepreneurs, today returned to the stage at Prime Time 2024, the Canadian Media Producers Association’s (CMPA) annual meeting for leaders and trendsetters in media production, broadcasting, TV, feature film and media policy.

Last year, BDC’s CEO announced a $30 M envelope of financing specifically for the creative industry in Canada. BDC recognized the persistent gap between the industry’s growing strategic value to the Canadian economy and its persistent challenges in raising capital.

That’s when BDC made the commitment to lean into its development role and issue a clear challenge, both to itself and to the creative industry. Setting a bold ambition so publicly brought all players to the table in new and creative ways, which in turn created a new environment of collaborative innovation.

A year later, the clarion call to do more and better delivered a result that exceeded all expectations: BDC increased its financing of the sector by a staggering total of $113 M across all of its service offerings, nearly four times greater than planned.

“This is a room full of dreamers and doers, the epitome of entrepreneurial spirit and world-beater perseverance. At the intersection of creativity and business savvy, this is a sector that perfectly suits BDC’s development mission. Last year, we shattered the myth that Canada’s creative industry can be a challenge to finance. Together, we rewrote that script, and I am so proud that BDC was, and is, part of your new story,” said Isabelle Hudon, President and CEO, BDC, during her remarks at the Prime Time 2024 event in Ottawa.

Knowledge-intensive and based on individual creativity and talent, creative and cultural businesses have significant impact on creating high-value job creation and economic wealth. In 2019, the arts, culture and heritage industries accounted for $57.1 billion in gross domestic product and nearly 673,000 direct jobs.

Over 1,000 businesses in the creative and cultural industries have benefitted from BDC’s support. The financing has helped various businesses grow, such as:

Distillery VFX – Vancouver, B.C.

Distillery VFX Inc. is an EMMY® award winning boutique digital visual effects studio that provides premium computer-generated graphics to the streaming and motion picture entertainment industry. Distillery was founded in December 2019 and started working with BDC in early 2022.

BDC has played an integral part in Distillery’s continued growth and success, by providing the financing for the purchase of Distillery’s studio in 2022 and the financing for leasehold improvements and equipment used in the visual effects process.

Félix et Paul Studios – Montreal, QC.

Felix & Paul Studios is an EMMY® Award-winning creator of immersive entertainment experiences, creating engaging virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality experiences for worldwide audiences. The team combines a patent-pending technology platform with award-winning creative expertise to produce groundbreaking immersive experiences.

Felix & Paul Studios will use BDC financing to support the production and development of their most ambitious project to date, a groundbreaking location-based VR experience based on a new original IP and set to launch in 2025.

Married to Giants Inc. – Toronto, ON.

Married to Giants Inc. is one of the leading post-production houses based in Toronto, Canada. They provide a variety of editorial services for traditional and digital advertising, short and long format content, documentary films and music videos.

Thanks to BDC’s financing, the company will be able to take on additional projects by providing much-needed capital, to drive growth coming out of a tough post COVID environment.

Peacemaker Studios Inc. – Burnaby, B.C.

Peacemaker Studios recently built a state of the art, turnkey volume LED studio, that simplifies production and brings the latest technology to commercials, features, series, photographic & special effects. The LED studio is an addition to the other innovative specialty camera solutions they offer to the Canadian Film & Television industry.

BDC’s support helped finance the procurement of Peacemaker’s own LED equipment and renovate their studio in support of their growth.

Sphère Média – Montreal, QC., Ottawa and Toronto, ON.

Sphère Média captivates the audience with its dramatic series, comedies, films, and animated series. Moreover, Sphère Média owns one of the largest 2D digital animation studios in Canada.

BDC enabled the production of two animated series such as the youth series Riley Rocket, which promotes inclusion and diversity, and the Red Ketchup series, an animated recreation of one of Quebec's great comic strips. These series are aimed at the Canadian and international markets, with sales already in Australia and England.

The 7 Fingers – Montreal, QC.

The 7 Fingers is a creative collective that redefines contemporary circus by blending artistic disciplines. Each creation is a new epic, a subtle blend of acrobatics and theatricality. The 7 fingers have given birth to creations as diverse as their creative minds: solo shows, Broadway musicals, prestigious international collaborations, special events, Olympic ceremonies, television performances and immersive experiences.

BDC supports several of The 7 Fingers' projects, the first of which involved the acquisition of specialized equipment to produce new immersive shows.

As part of its efforts to accelerate growth in the sector, BDC partnered with Telefilm Canada to identify untapped business potential and develop initiatives in support of the Canadian audiovisual industry. As a result, a free learning program to equip entrepreneurs with financial management fundamentals is now available so small businesses just starting out can shore up the numbers behind their business. The program is a good example of what BDC wants to accomplish: making sure industries that may have different or unmet needs increase their knowledge and seize opportunities to fully achieve their ambitions.

To learn more, visit BDC's creative and cultural industry web page.

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


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