August 23, 2017
Record number of entrepreneurs turn to BDC for support with growth
MONTREAL--The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) is supporting more Canadian entrepreneurs than ever before, with 49,000 business owners receiving its services, up 17 percent from the year before, according to BDC's 2016-17 annual report released today.
"Helping entrepreneurs thrive is our greatest ambition. BDC remains committed to a clear and unique purpose: to create prosperity for Canada by providing the advisory services and financial support entrepreneurs need to achieve their goals," says BDC President and CEO Michael Denham. "We are reaching more entrepreneurs and having a greater impact on their businesses. And we continue to be profitable, operating at no cost to Canadian taxpayers."
A year after launching its new brand identity, the Bank is well on its way to making its role and product offering better known to a greater number of entrepreneurs. BDC has taken important actions over the last year to deliver on its aspiration of helping Canadian entrepreneurs become the most competitive in the world, like:
> Increasing access to capital for women entrepreneurs. BDC announced that it would inject $50 million into women-owned technology businesses. For example, Caitlin MacGregor, from Plum, received venture capital investment from BDC Capital to grow her business, which uses psychometric assessments to help companies succeed by bringing predictability to the hiring process and company culture. This announcement complements a 2015 BDC commitment to increase its term lending to majority women-owned businesses to at least $700 million over three years.
> Financing tech innovation. BDC also announced a $135-million venture capital fund for start-ups in the industrial, clean and energy technology (ICE) sectors, like Axine Water Technologies. The company, which develops low cost, chemical-free solutions to treat toxic organic pollutants in industrial wastewater, received an investment from BDC Capital to fund their plans to scale up. BDC first invested in Axine in 2013.
> Addressing Canada's productivity gap. Through tailored financing and advisory services, BDC is helping entrepreneurs become more productive. For example:
Jakub Lipinski, proprietor of Big Head Wines, who turned to BDC for financing to purchase additional inventory that will allow the family-run winery to support its growing sales.
Dominique Nadeau of Safari Condo, a recreational vehicle manufacturer, who turned to BDC for advice, helping the company increase its weekly production by 30 percent.
In October, BDC also launched an online productivity benchmarking tool, which has already received over 15,000 visits. This free tool lets entrepreneurs measure their company's productivity and compare it with the competition. It is a first step toward helping solve the productivity challenge that many Canadian businesses face.
The Bank also embarked on several other initiatives to equip entrepreneurs for success. Some examples:
BDC's Advisory Services team completed a multi-year transformation to provide better, more comprehensive guidance to entrepreneurs on key management challenges. BDC also began to roll out its Growth Driver Program, which supports high-impact firms.
Its website, BDC.ca, attracted 4.6 million visitors last year, an increase of 20% from the previous year. The website offers high-quality, useful and inspiring content to help entrepreneurs address their business challenges.
BDC is embracing innovation by making more of its products and services accessible online and via mobile devices. In fact, the Bank was the first financial institution to deploy tablets to finalize loans in a single client visit. As a result, its account managers are better equipped to deliver fast, efficient banking and advice to entrepreneurs. BDC also continued to automate its loan processes, resulting in a greater volume of online financing transactions.
With consolidated net income of $465 million last year, the Bank will have even more capacity for lending and investing in the future.
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 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. To find out more, visit bdc.ca.