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BDC works to help women entrepreneurs grow in size and scale

Montreal,Québec - The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) is proud to mark Women’s Entrepreneurship Day by pledging a renewed focus on supporting women-owned businesses.

“Women entrepreneurs represent an enormous economic force in Canada. We are excited to do our part to empower, celebrate and support women entrepreneurs,” says Lesley Lawrence, BDC’s National Champion for Women Entrepreneurs and Senior Vice President, Financing and Consulting, British Columbia & North.

Forty-seven percent of Canadian SMEs are entirely or partly owned by women, according to Industry Canada data. “At BDC, we recognize that women play an essential role in helping to improve Canadian competitiveness. These entrepreneurs are creating new models and ways of doing business,” Lawrence says.

Women-owned small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) earn less than half of the revenue of comparable male-owned businesses, according to data from BDC client companies.

To help address this gap, BDC earlier this year committed to increase its term lending to majority women-owned businesses to at least $700 million over the next three years. BDC estimates this will result in an additional 300-400 loans being made available to women-owned businesses. The bank’s objective is not only to increase the number of loans to women-owned businesses, but also to help them grow in size and scale.

“And seven months in, we’re proud to say that we have already committed more than $150 million to majority owned-women businesses which represents 22% of the bank’s three-year objective”, declares Lawrence.

Women entrepreneurs face a revenue gap partly because of a reticence to borrow money to grow and a more conservative approach to risk. SMEs owned by women are less likely to seek financing than those owned by men, according to Statistics Canada data.

“Risk-taking is important for entrepreneurial success,” Lawrence says. She cites the words of Isabelle Bettez, President and CEO of Montreal-based 8D Technologies. “Risk is part of everybody’s life, regardless of what you do,” Bettez says in the current issue of BDC’s Profit$ magazine. “At certain moments, we’re all scared of change and the unknown. But we have just one life to live. If there’s something I feel I want to do, I tell myself I can do it. And I go for it.”

BDC is the only bank dedicated exclusively to entrepreneurs. With more than 100 business centres and over 32,000 clients across Canada, it offers loans, investments and advisory services. BDC’s purpose is to support Canadian entrepreneurship with a focus on small and medium-sized businesses.

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