BDC is dedicating $70 million to women-led companies over the next five years.
The VC firm made an additional $20 million commitment to a $50 million fund earmarked for women-led tech companies announced last year.
“BDC has a bold vision: to foster the creation of the next generation of successful Canadian women technology entrepreneurs,” said Michelle Scarborough, managing director of strategic investments and Women in Tech at BDC. “We believe it is our combination of smart capital, entrepreneurial thinking, strong relationships, and a long-term approach that will help women tech entrepreneurs build and scale the next generation of companies.”
“This investment demonstrates the untapped potential that women entrepreneurs represent.”
$60 million will be dedicated to direct investments to support women-led tech firms. The program will invest equity at the seed stage, Series A stage, and sometimes at the Series B stage alongside accelerator partners, investors, and other corporate venture partners, as part of a syndicate or as a lead investor.
“The Government of Canada is committed to supporting women entrepreneurs as they work to find the support they need to start and grow their businesses. With the additional investment announced today, BDC's funding envelope to support Women in Tech becomes the largest of its kind in North America,” said Minister of Small Business and Tourism.
The remaining $10 million is allotted to indirect investments to regional initiatives, including a $5 million commitment made toward the first close of the StandUp Ventures Fund I earlier this year.
“There is still much work to do. However, this investment, along with the commitment of more than $700 million to support women-led businesses throughout the economy, demonstrates the untapped potential that women entrepreneurs represent,” said Chagger. “As we mark Global Entrepreneurship Week, I am proud of the fact that today, women have more resources than ever to scale their companies, help grow the economy, and create good-paying middle-class jobs for Canadians.”
Since November 2016, BDC has completed nine investments in women-led tech firms totalling close to $3 million. The firm was part of Nudge’s $5 million Series A announced this morning, and has also invested in Waterloo-based Plum.io and Bridgit.
In 2015, BDC made a commitment to invest $700 million in majority women-owned businesses. The firm says it has committed $809 million to majority women-owned businesses to this day.