Bright Start for a New Decade
As we wrap up the year and welcome a decade of new opportunities, we would like to share some of our successes of 2019.
As the bank for entrepreneurs, it’s our job to support business owners from coast to coast. Helping women start and grow businesses has been a top priority. In 2018, we doubled our lending target for majority-owned women businesses to $1.4 billion and I am proud to report that we are ahead of target. Today more than 6,600 majority women-owned businesses are benefiting from our support.
In 2018, we also almost tripled the size of our Women in Technology Venture Fund to $200 million. This year, we increased our invested in women-led tech companies bringing our total portfolio to 28 companies.
In addition to financial support, we launched many new programs and initiatives, including:
- Sponsored or hosted more than 200+ events across Canada to support women entrepreneurs (WEs)
- Created a video series profiling the leaders and role models in our Women in Technology Venture Fund portfolio
- Partnered with AmberMac Media to launch HerTurn, an online business competition for WEs
- Initiated gender bias training for BDC employees across Canada
- Revamped our bdc.ca/women page to allow WEs to meet, learn and be inspired
- Increased our free, online learning tools (webinars, blogs, articles, e-books) on bdc.ca to help women entrepreneurs succeed
- Launched a Supplier Diversity Program
- Built a team of Regional Sponsors, Champions and Senior Advisors across the country who are all passionate about helping WEs grow and expand their businesses
None of this work would be possible without the help of great partners here in Canada and abroad. This year, we were proud to be recognized by some of those partners for our work and received the following awards or certifications:
- WBE Canada President’s Award for our commitment to women entrepreneurs and supplier diversity
- Bronze certification from Women in Governance for our support of gender parity..
- Large Enterprise Women's Impact Award from the Réseau des Femmes d'affaires du Québec (RFAQ) ─ BDC is the only organization to have won it twice.
- Signed the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles
These results are encouraging but I want to emphasize that our commitment goes beyond the numbers. We do this to strengthen entrepreneurship in Canada. We do this to inspire and encourage women and girls to have the confidence to think big and scale up through access to tools, resources and people who can help them thrive. We do this because it’s the right thing to do and because it’s good for business.
As we start a new decade, I am more certain than ever that women will continue to make meaningful progress this year. Systemic change takes time. Last year, we saw the number of women entrepreneurs’ in Canada grow to 28% and more women than ever are now at the helm of the world’s most influential institutions. BDC is excited to be a small part of this change and look forward to continuing to support women entrepreneurs in the years to come.