Kitchener, November 15, 2017—As part of its continued efforts to support women entrepreneurs, BDC announced today that it will be committing an additional $20 million to its Women in Tech investment program. Today’s news builds on a 2016 commitment to invest $50 million in women-led technology firms, bringing the total size to $70 million, to be invested over five years.
"BDC has a bold vision: To foster the creation of the next generation of successful Canadian women technology entrepreneurs,” says Michelle Scarborough, Managing Director, Strategic Investments and Women in Tech at BDC. "We believe it is our combination of smart capital, entrepreneurial thinking, strong relationships, and a long term approach that will help women tech entrepreneurs build and scale the next generation of companies.”
“The Government of Canada is committed to supporting women entrepreneurs as they work to find the support they need to start and grow their businesses. With the additional investment announced today, BDC's funding envelope to support Women in Tech becomes the largest of its kind in North America," says Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.
"There is still much work to do. However, this investment, along with the commitment of more than $700 million to support women-led businesses throughout the economy, demonstrates the untapped potential that women entrepreneurs represent. As we mark Global Entrepreneurship Week, I am proud of the fact that today, women have more resources than ever to scale their companies, help grow the economy, and create good-paying middle class jobs for Canadians."
As part of the program, $60 million will be dedicated to direct investments to support women-led tech firms. Managed by BDC Capital, the investment arm of BDC, the program will invest equity at the seed stage, Series A stage and sometimes at the Series B stage, alongside accelerator partners, investors and other corporate venture partners, as part of a syndicate or as a lead investor. The remaining $10 million is allotted to indirect investments to regional initiatives, including a $5 million commitment made toward the first close of StandUp Ventures Fund I earlier this year.
Since November 2016, BDC has completed nine investments in women-led tech firms totalling close to $3 million. Lindsey Goodchild, Co-Founder and CEO of Nudge Rewards, Mallorie Brodie, Co-Founder and CEO of Bridgit, and Caitlin MacGregor, CEO of Plum, are three shining examples of the successful women BDC is committed to supporting.
- Nudge Rewards (Toronto) provides an employee app and analytics platform for brands to engage, educate, and ultimately reward frontline managers and associates to drive company performance.
- Bridgit (Kitchener) develops software to simplify the jobsite for construction professionals. This women-led tech firm is now finding success on the international stage, with over 450 active projects in the US and Canada.
- Plum (Waterloo) developed a predictive hiring tool that uses psychometric assessments to help companies succeed by bringing predictability to the hiring process and company culture.
BDC has taken a comprehensive approach to supporting the needs of women entrepreneurs by offering a full spectrum of financing, advisory services and capital solutions. Today’s announcement complements a 2015 commitment to increase term lending to majority women-owned businesses to at least $700 million over three years. BDC surpassed this objective in 30 months, having lent $809 million to majority women-owned businesses to this day.
BDC is the only bank devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs. It promotes Canadian entrepreneurship with a focus on small and medium-sized businesses. With its 118 business centers from coast to coast, BDC provides businesses in all industries with financing and advisory services. Its investment arm, BDC Capital, offers equity, venture capital and flexible growth and transition capital solutions. BDC is also the first financial institution in Canada to receive B Corp certification. To find out more, visit bdc.ca.
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