March 8, 2018, Montreal—The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has signed a pioneering partnership with Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada (WEOC) to better support women entrepreneurs.
WEOC members have developed innovative programs to help women at all business stages. The partnership will allow BDC to engage more closely with five WEOC member organizations and the growing 90,000 women business owners WEOC members work with at a national level.
WEOC’s member organizations provide learning and networking opportunities, management advice and coaching for women entrepreneurs. “Through this partnership, after receiving sound, tailored advice, women entrepreneurs who will have optimized their business plan are given a better chance at getting financed,” says Laura Didyk, BDC’s Vice-President, Alberta South and National sponsor for the Bank’s Women Entrepreneur strategy.
“At BDC, we believe that women entrepreneurs have enormous untapped potential, so we provide WEOC member organizations the ability to either enhance or create access to capital for women entrepreneurs,” she says.
“This partnership is another demonstration of the great work being done by BDC to support and empower women entrepreneurs across Canada,” said the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and tourism.
“Our government strongly supports this work, and through our 2018 Budget, and especially our Women Entrepreneurship Strategy announced as part of the Budget, we will support and invest in women at all stages of entrepreneurship with goal of doubling the number of women-owned businesses by 2025. This International Women’s Day, let us celebrate how far women have come, and also look to the future on what there is still to achieve. I am confident we can achieve it by working together.”
The agreement adds on to BDC’s commitments to support women entrepreneurs, namely new targets of $1.4 billion in lending to women-led businesses by 2021 and $200 million in investments in women-led technology firms.
“We are very excited about partnering with BDC and being part of its initiative to better support women entrepreneurs, who are one of Canada’s greatest resources,” says Sandra Altner, CEO of the Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba and WEOC Chair. “This partnership will give our members fantastic opportunities to access financing that will help them attain their business dreams.”
The agreement is signed between BDC and five of WEOC’s member organizations: the Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba, the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs, the Women’s Enterprise Organization, British Columbia, Alberta Women Entrepreneurs and Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan.
Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada (WEOC) is a national coalition of support organizations working with women entrepreneurs to provide them with training, advisory services, coaching, mentoring, networking, and capacity building. WEOC’s objectives are to share best practices, and to be a central forum for information, research, and activities that will benefit women entrepreneurs in Canada.
BDC is the only bank devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs. It promotes Canadian entrepreneurship with a focus on small and medium-sized businesses. With its 118 business centers from coast to coast, BDC provides businesses in all industries with financing and advisory services. Its investment arm, BDC Capital, offers equity, venture capital and flexible growth and transition capital solutions. BDC is also the first financial institution in Canada to receive B Corp certification. To find out more, visit bdc.ca.