BDC to invest USD50m more in women-led start-up tech firms

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BDC Capital, the investment arm of the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), is injecting USD50 million into women-led technology firms as part of its efforts to support female entrepreneurs.

"Women-led firms are vital to Canada's prosperity and competitiveness," says Alison Nankivell, vice president, funds and co-investment, BDC Capital. "Recognising 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."
 
Of the funds, USD40 million will be used to create a new program for women-led tech firms. The programme will include both venture and growth capital and will be open to new and existing BDC Capital clients as well as to graduates of partner accelerators. Initial deployment will start by the end of 2016 and the programme will target high-potential and quickly growing female-led tech companies.
 
BDC Capital will allocate an additional USD10 million to support regional initiatives beginning with the MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund to form a new women's pre-seed and seed fund and increase depth of network and resources for women founders. With its anchor investment, BDC is seeking to raise additional capital from other interested investors.
 
"Through these initiatives, BDC is looking to build deep networks and an ecosystem of support for women-led tech firms," Nankivell says. "We want to be able to act on more varied types of deals, reinforce the good work that's already being done and make female tech founders even more successful."
 
"MaRS IAF has a strong record for investing in several very successful female-led companies. This new fund will allow us to further our focus on providing capital to promising women entrepreneurs," says Michelle McBane, investment director, MaRS IAF.
 
The money for the new initiatives exceeds a 2015 BDC commitment to increase its term lending to majority women-owned businesses to at least USD700 million over three years, in addition to its ongoing support to women-founded technology firms and funds.

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