At the Canadian Women’s Entrepreneurship Conference in Toronto, Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism, announced that $50 million will be dedicated to supporting women-led businesses through the BDC.
“Women are key economic drivers. With these fundamental changes to the way BDC does business, we will create more middle-class jobs and drive inclusive economic growth for our nation. BDC is well on its way to being a world-leading institution to help women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses in Canada and around the world.”
According to a statement, the Minister worked with BDC on the federal government’s women entrepreneurship strategy, and BDC will make “fundamental changes” to the way it works with women and launch initiatives to support women-led businesses. These include establishing an internal fund for women founders, a women’s venture acceleration program, and a women’s seed fund.
“Women-led firms are vital to Canada’s prosperity and competitiveness,” said Alison Nankivell, Vice President of funds and co-investment at BDC Capital. “Recognizing the need for financial and non-financial support for female founders, we are proud to launch several new initiatives to encourage women tech founders who are starting new companies, growing existing ones, creating jobs and triggering innovation.”
$40 million will be used to create a new program for women-led tech firms, and BDC Capital will allocate an additional $10 million to supporting regional initiatives, beginning with the MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund. The $10 million will be used to form a new women’s pre-seed and seed fund. In 2015, BDC said it made a commitment to increase its term lending to majority women-owned businesses to at least $700 million over three years.
Chagger will be spending the day at the conference, which includes speakers like Patty Hajdu, Minister of Status of Women, Mayor of Mississauga Bonnie Crombie, and the conference’s keynote speaker Farah Mohamed of G(irls)20.