The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has opened a new BDC Square location in Vancouver, aiming to offer a new collaborative work and event space to small and medium-sized businesses.
The new BDC Square location is in “The Stack,” Vancouver’s tallest office building located at 1133 Melville Street, which recently opened with a Zero Carbon Building Design certification.
“There is a lot of anxiety. Increasing our presence means we can provide more entrepreneurs with the support they need.”– Flavie Côté, BDC spokesperson
“Peer-to-peer connections can go a long way in developing entrepreneurial skills and building a strong business community,” BDC senior vice president Jean-Philippe Ménard said in a statement. “I am proud we are offering a space that will bring this community together, fostering more collaboration, and ultimately driving BC’s economy forward.”
The new BDC Square location comes one month after WeWork, the largest name in the turnkey office space, said it would be shuttering up to 69 of its locations, three of which were located in Metro Vancouver, as part of a larger restructuring. The WeWork website currently shows five remaining locations in Vancouver, plus another in Burnaby.
WeWork went public at a $9-billion valuation in 2021, possessing more than 18 million square feet of rentable office space globally by the end of last year. Last month, WeWork filed for bankruptcy, with its filing to a New Jersey bankruptcy court listing liabilities between $10 billion and $50 billion.
When asked how BDC sees its Square locations being affected by the shuttering of WeWork locations in Vancouver, BDC told BetaKit that it has heard from entrepreneurs seeking more peer-to-peer learning opportunities, which prompted the Crown corporation to create a space for them.
“We’re in a turbulent time; new rules have changed consumer habits, and entrepreneurs are trying to adapt,” BDC spokesperson Flavie Côté told BetaKit, pointing to the vulnerability of small businesses facing high interest rates. “There is a lot of anxiety. Increasing our presence means we can provide more entrepreneurs with the support they need.”
BDC Squares began with a Montréal location in 2020 and expanded to Toronto in 2022. BDC said that its Squares have hosted nearly 500 events to date and that over 40 events have already been hosted in the Vancouver location. There are currently no plans to open any more similar spaces, Côté told BetaKit.
The multifunctional spaces are open Monday to Friday, from 8:30am to 4:30pm, and have a capacity to host events for up to 125 attendees.
Feature image by Upper Left Photography, courtesy of BDC.