BDC launches series of discussion groups with women entrepreneurs to mark Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

Events will be an opportunity for women entrepreneurs to share challenges, insights, and network

Montreal QC, November 18, 2021 - In celebration of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day on November 19, BDC is launching a series of discussion groups hosted by Isabelle Hudon, BDC’s first female President and CEO.

The first event will take place on December 15 in virtual format. In the new year, Isabelle will visit cities from coast to coast to meet and listen to women business owners, particularly those in industries hit hardest through the pandemic including travel, tourism, retail and hospitality. Each event will be an opportunity for these entrepreneurs to share their challenges and insights, and network.

“Before the pandemic, we needed 100 years to achieve gender equality across the world. Today, it’s expected we need 135 years!” said Hudon quoting World Economic Forum data. “To increase momentum, we must set ambitious goals, followed by concrete actions. Our objective for these discussion groups is to bring these driven women together to learn how we can do more and better to support their ambitions.”

The initiative is part of BDC's +Impact project, a fulsome review of the organization’s activities to help evolve its aspiration for the next decade to best support Canadian entrepreneurs. As part of this exercise, BDC surveyed 1,000 women entrepreneurs about their needs coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. It found that women are more likely than other business owners to prioritize growing their businesses, yet, have lower confidence in achieving their goals. They are more likely to adapt their operations to reduce the impact on the environment. They also have fewer challenges with attracting and retaining staff.

“The data reinforces what we already see,” said Laura Didyk, Vice President, Client Diversity, BDC. “Women are creating strong, purpose-driven businesses, led by more diverse teams. Since 2015, BDC has provided more than $2.7 billion to female-owned businesses, and with more than 200 Client Diversity Champions in Canada, we are just getting started.”

The events will bring women together in-person and online to accommodate busy schedules and to respect COVID-19 protocols. Details, as well as photos and stories, will be shared on Isabelle’s Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram (@HudonIsabelle) in the coming weeks.

BDC is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion and is a long-time champion for female business owners. As co-founder of The A Effect, among other initiatives, Isabelle Hudon is also a passionate advocate for women. Women entrepreneurs looking for more information, financing, advice, and free resources and tools are encouraged to visit bdc.ca/women.

About BDC

BDC is the bank for Canadian entrepreneurs. It provides access to financing, as well as advisory services to help Canadian businesses grow and succeed. Its investment arm, BDC Capital, offers a wide range of risk capital solutions. For more than 75 years, BDC’s only purpose has been to support entrepreneurs in all industries and at all stages of growth. For more information and to consult more than 1,000 free tools, articles and entrepreneurs’ stories, visit bdc.ca.

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