BDC financing $325,000 in loans to support entrepreneurs with mental health and addiction challenges


BDC is financing $325,000 in loans to support entrepreneurs with mental health and addiction challenges.

The money will be allocated by Rise Asset Development, which provides low-interest small business loans and mentorship to entrepreneurs living with mental health or addiction issues, who often have difficulty accessing traditional financing. The amount will be disbursed over two years in the form of loans of $5,000 to $10,000, and allow Ontario-based Rise to expand its program to other provinces.

“We’re delighted to help Rise expand its innovative, empowering program,” said Michael Denham, president and CEO of BDC. “It fits perfectly with BDC’s purpose of support for entrepreneurs. Rise’s clients deserve the same consideration as other entrepreneurs – and Canada needs more Rises.”

Rise has provided over $1 million in loans since it was founded in 2010 by the Rotman School of Management and the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health.

“Rise is excited to broaden our partnership with BDC,” said Robert J. McGuire, chair of Rise’s Board of Directors. “As we expand across Canada over the next three years, BDC’s support is making a big impact in the lives of resilient, hard-working and creative Canadians and their communities.”

Examples of ventures that have received financing include:

  • Art of Ciel (AOC): an arts-based creative business where Camille Lauren paints mixed media artwork inspired by sound, nature, and emotion. AOC creates custom commissions and paints live at special events.
  • Darren Leu: collaborates with artists, collectives, and organizations to explore different perspectives and create a dialogue with the public. Darren Christopher Projects offers event planning services, connects artists to production studios and manages event spaces for social and corporate use.
  • Apanaki Designs (AD): focuses on multi-media acrylic artwork incorporating African textiles collage on canvas. AD offers fine art in the form of original and commissioned works, posters, cards archival prints, and merchandise. As an artist with lived experience, AD also offers facilitation and workshops for clients at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and community organizations that bring together artists with mental health and addiction challenges.

“Today’s investment by the BDC to support Rise Asset Development and its work holds the potential to be transformative for many hardworking Canadians who need it most,” said Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism. “I am so encouraged by the work of Rise to help new entrepreneurs who are working hard to overcome past challenges. Our government is committed to supporting Canada’s middle class, and just as importantly, those working hard to join it. The people that Rise helps are working especially hard, and I commend them for their tenacity and dedication. The entrepreneurs that will be supported by Rise offer all of us an important lesson: that no matter what challenges we have faced in our lives, there is always hope and opportunity. And that we are stronger when we work together to promote growth and empowerment for all Canadians.”

Photo via Burst

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang

Freelance tech writer. Former BetaKit News Editor.

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