BDC earmarks $700 mln to finance women-owned businesses

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has earmarked $700 million of funding over three years to help finance Canadian women-owned businesses. Beyond supporting existing clients, the funding will over this period provide an additional 300 to 400 in loans to companies that are majority-owned by women. Lesley Lawrence, a BDC senior vice president, will lead and support related initiatives. The announcement was made at the federal government’s Women Entrepreneurs Forum in Ottawa.


Government of Canada supports women entrepreneurs at “Investing in the Future” Forum

Minister Leitch hosts forum for over 300 women entrepreneurs from across Canada

OTTAWA, March 23, 2015 /CNW/ – Today, the Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, hosted the Government of Canada’s Women Entrepreneurs Forum in Ottawa, Ontario. The Forum brings together over 300 women from across the country to participate in a day-and-a-half program of inspiring role models, practical workshops, and valuable networking and mentorship opportunities for women starting or growing a business.

During the Forum, Minister Leitch was pleased to highlight that the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has earmarked $700 million of existing funding over three years to finance women-owned businesses. Beyond supporting existing clients, this funding will also provide an additional 300-400 loans to businesses majority-owned by women seeking financing over the next three years. As part of this effort, Lesley Lawrence, BDC Senior Vice-President, Financing and Consulting, British Columbia & North, will lead and support initiatives that impact women-owned businesses.

Quick Facts
•RBC Economics reports that as of 2011, the contribution of majority-owned women’s businesses to the Canadian economy was an estimated $148 billion. RBC also estimates that a 10% increase in the number of majority-owned women’s businesses over 10 years would bring their total economic contribution to $198 billion.
•Economic Action Plan 2014 outlined the Government’s commitment to increasing mentorship for women looking to start their own businesses and become entrepreneurs.
•The Government of Canada has provided over $153 million in funding through Status of Women Canada to support more than 750 projects since 2007. This includes more than $60 million invested in projects that promote women’s economic security and prosperity. Of this amount, over $12 million has been for projects which address women’s entrepreneurship.


“Our Government knows that when women succeed, Canada succeeds. That’s why I am pleased to host this first ever forum for women entrepreneurs – Investing in the Future. We are taking action to support women-owned businesses. Women entrepreneurs and women in business have enormous potential and we are supporting them as they create the kind of jobs, growth, and long term prosperity that our Government wishes to see across the country.”

The Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, P.C., O.Ont., M.P.
Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women

“The health and long-term success of women-owned businesses is critical to Canada’s economic prosperity. BDC will ensure that additional financial and ongoing support for this growing market segment is made available. The naming of a national champion is the first step in this endeavor.”

Jean-René Halde, President and Chief Executive Officer
Business Development Bank of Canada

Additional Links
•Information about the Women Entrepreneurs Forum
•Information about Status of Women Canada at

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SOURCE Status of Women Canada
For further information: For media inquiries only: Andrew McGrath, Director of Communications, Office of the Hon. Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, P.C., O.Ont., M.P., Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, Tel: 819-953-5646,; For all other inquiries: Nanci-Jean Waugh, Director General, Communications and Public Affairs, Status of Women Canada, Tel: 819-420-6810

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