July 26, 2018, Montreal— A record 56,000 entrepreneurs now receive support from the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), a 14% increase from last year, as reported in BDC’s 2017-18 annual report released today. In addition, the Bank reports that its client base is now more diverse than ever, with marked increases in the number of tech, women and Indigenous entrepreneurs it supports across Canada.
“The ambition, agility and creativity of entrepreneurs inspires us to go further, faster—because when entrepreneurs succeed, Canada succeeds. We not only boosted our client numbers, but also broadened the diversity of those we accompany,” says Michael Denham, President and CEO of BDC. “Our primary goal is to fast-track the growth of entrepreneurs. This means we constantly have to accelerate our own pace, in-person and online,” Denham says.
“Canadian entrepreneurs are key drivers of our economy,” says the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion. “For almost 75 years, BDC has provided valuable support, financing and advice to Canada’s entrepreneurs. I congratulate BDC on the work it is doing to diversify its growing client base. As Canada’s first feminist government, we understand the importance of funding women entrepreneurs. I am especially proud of the $200 million investment capital available to women technology entrepreneurs through BDC’s Women in Technology Venture Fund.”
Having an impact on a greater number of entrepreneurs
With loans, advice and capital for all stages of their growth, a record number of entrepreneurs are turning to BDC for help to innovate, scale and grow internationally. During fiscal 2018, the Bank’s more than 2,200 employees worked hard to have a greater impact on more entrepreneurs. For instance, the Bank:
- Announced it would deploy $700 million in capital to increase financing for the most promising Canadian cleantech firms. In an effort to build a commercially sustainable cleantech industry, BDC is taking on more risk to help high-potential clean tech firms expand by providing them with the capital they need to hire new staff, develop products, support sales, scale up and compete globally.
- Deployed a national team of experienced professionals dedicated to the technology industry, to provide financing and advisory services to tech firms at all stages of their development. The Bank now supports 2,100 tech entrepreneurs throughout Canada, up 12 % from last year.
- Continued to leverage its online presence and is investing in enhanced mobile capabilities to make it simpler and faster for clients to secure financing. Our clients can now apply for loans 100% digitally, online at BDC.ca or with their account manager via a BDC mobile device. Authorizing one of these loans takes just minutes and reflects how we intend to work in the future.
- Made available more than 1,000 free resources for entrepreneurs, including articles, videos, eBooks, business templates, assessment tools and research reports. BDC publications reached 220,000 Canadians last year, and its website bdc.ca had 5.6 million visits, an increase of 25% over the previous year.
- Continued delivering on its promise to do more to support women entrepreneurs. BDC surpassed its lending objective of $700 million over three years to women majority-owned businesses. In addition, the Bank set a new lending target of $1.4 billion for women entrepreneurs over three years and increased its Women in Technology Venture Fund from $70 million to $200 million, making it the largest such fund in the world.
- Authorized over $140 million in financing to entrepreneurs in Atlantic Canada in the first year of a two-year financing envelope launched by the Bank to assist the region’s small and mid-sized businesses. In May 2017, BDC committed to authorizing $280 million in support of companies from this region that are pursuing growth opportunities in the information and communication technology (ICT), agri-food, ocean technology and tourism industries.
- Increased the number of Indigenous business it supports by 15%. BDC’s Indigenous Business Unit aims to address the unique challenges faced by these entrepreneurs with in-depth insight and expertise, and tailored solutions like its Indigenous Entrepreneur Loan.
Investing in growth
Now with over $3 billion under management, BDC Capital, the investment arm of BDC, counts 1,300 innovative businesses employing over 30,000 Canadians. During fiscal 2018, its Growth & Transition Capital portfolio reached a major milestone, surpassing $1 billion in flexible specialized financing and minority equity investments to high-growth mid-market companies. The Bank’s Venture Capital operations also had a very successful year. Results were favourably impacted by a significant fair value appreciation following the partial sale of one investee, good performance of its fund investments and two successful initial public offerings (IPOs).
Offering expert advice
Entrepreneurs need more than capital to succeed. This is why BDC continues to focus on non-financial support for Canadian business owners through its advisory services. The Bank delivered 1,500 mandates helping entrepreneurs make their businesses more innovative, productive and competitive. The services delivered most frequently related to increasing sales, finding new markets, improving operations, optimizing technology and building management capacity. It also now supports more than 100 clients through its Growth Driver Program – a unique program designed for ambitious mid-sized companies that want to grow.
Strong financial performance
In order to do even more for entrepreneurs, BDC needs to remain profitable. The Bank, a self-financed Crown corporation, earned consolidated net income of $818.3 million in fiscal 2018, to be reinvested in entrepreneurs, while also paying a $69.7 million dividend to the Government of Canada. BDC committed an additional $2 billion to Canada’s small and medium-sized businesses, bringing its total portfolio to $31 billion.
BDC is the only bank devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs. It promotes Canadian entrepreneurship with a focus on small and medium-sized businesses. With its 123 business centres 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.