Innovative SMEs led by women | BDC launches $500 million fund

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) is launching a $500 million equity investment fund for growing women-led businesses.

Posted at 10:45 am.

Martin Valieres

Martin Valieres
the press

Dubbed “Excelles,” the fund is actually a three-way “investment platform” that BDC says is an enhanced extension of the $200 million “Women in Technology Fund” launched in 2017 by its BDC Capital division.

In five years, this “Women in Technology Fund” has made 38 investments in women-led companies, 8 of which have already achieved a successful exit to financial autonomy.

According to BDC, the business ecosystem that has developed around this first fund includes 7,500 businesswomen and entrepreneurs across Canada.

With its new Excelles investment platform, which is slated to raise $500 million, BDC is taking a “bold initiative that demonstrates the enormous potential of women-led businesses to investors,” said Isabel Hudon, president and managing director of Federal State Bank. specializes in financial support for the development of small and medium-sized businesses.

“This investment [dans Excelles] Aimed at promoting female entrepreneurs, they offered more opportunities and better chances to succeed on the world stage. We believe that the incredible potential of these women can become an important lever for the country’s economic growth. »

in three parts

Announced Wednesday in Toronto as part of the Elevate conference dedicated to technology entrepreneurship, BDC’s new Excelles investment platform consists of three distinct elements.

The first and main element of the platform is a $300 million fund for direct investments in “preeminent women-led Canadian tech companies.”

The second element of Excelles is a $100 million “lab fund” for direct investment in “women-led businesses that demonstrate promising business models and growth potential but do not qualify for traditional means of obtaining venture capital investment.”

Finally, the third element of the BDC’s new financial platform is a 100 million sum for “indirect investments” for small and medium-sized businesses led by women.

According to the BDC’s intentions, these “indirect investments” consist of investments made by its BDC Capital division in investment funds led by women and which target businesses that are also led by women.

In the first iteration of BDC’s Women in Tech Fund, launched in 2017, an indirect investment stream totaling $20 million was distributed among five committed, women-led investment funds. These funds were then able to raise a total of 364 million in additional capital from other investors on top of the capital provided by BDC Capital.

Challenging prejudices

Among the reasons for starting Excelles, BDC management said, “Women-led startups have to work harder to get the funding they need and consistently do more with less than similar businesses run by men.”

However, BDC notes, an analysis by the Boston Consulting Group shows that female-led start-ups have “significantly higher” returns per invested dollar than similar male-led companies.

“We know there’s still a lot of work to do to address bias in the corporate finance industry, but we believe we’re on the right track,” said Michelle Scarborough, managing partner of Women in Technology Fund and Excelles Investments. Platform in BDC.

“Over the past five years, we’ve invested in incredible women-led businesses across Canada that are transforming their respective industries,” said Ms.I Scarborough.

Going forward, BDC “already sees exceptional opportunities in the market. There has never been a better time to invest in women-led businesses.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *