Business Development Bank of Canada

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Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)
Crown corporation, financial services
Industry Financial services, consulting, venture capital
Founded Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 1944
Key people
Michael Denham (President and CEO), Samuel L. Duboc (Chairman)
Total assets $22.9 billion (F2016)[1]
Number of employees
2,100 (F2016)
Website BDC

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) (French: Banque de Développement du Canada) is a federal Crown corporation wholly owned by the Government of Canada. Its mandate is to help create and develop Canadian businesses through financing, growth and transition capital, venture capital and advisory services, with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises.[2]

The bank was founded in 1944 and its corporate headquarters is located in Montreal. BDC has more than 112 business centres across Canada and more than 42,000 clients.[3]

BDC's debt obligations, secured by the Government of Canada, are issued to public and private sector institutions.


The bank was established by an Act of Parliament[4] as the Industrial Development Bank (IDB) in September 1944. IDB was initially an arm of the Bank of Canada, and the Governor of the Bank was also Chief Executive Officer of the IDB. During its first years, the bank’s main role was to help small “industrial enterprises” convert from military production to peace-time operations after the Second World War.[5]

IDB was one of the first and largest development banks in the world.[6]

The Industrial Development Bank Act was first amended in 1952 to allow the bank to offer financing to companies in the commercial airlines industry. By the mid-1950s, one out of every 10 planes in Canada was financed by IDB.[6] Later, IDB’s Act was amended two more times to allow the bank to lend to companies in almost all industries.

By 1964, twenty years after its foundation, IDB had 22 branches across Canada, covering main cities such as Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver and also had operations in relatively rural areas. In the mid-1970s, the bank added consulting and training to its financial offerings to help entrepreneurs better manage their businesses.[7]

In 1975, the name of the bank changed to Federal Business Development Bank (FBDB) and its venture capital operations were started. At the time, the bank was known as “a lender of last resort”—supporting businesses in difficulty.

In 1995, Parliament passed the Business Development Bank of Canada Act, leading to a new name and mission for the bank. The Act mandates BDC to promote entrepreneurship, with a special focus on the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and to fill the market gaps and maximize financing alternatives for businesses by offering services that were complementary to those available from other financial institutions.[8]

BDC is financially self-sustaining.[9] Since 1998, it has been profitable and paid a total of $417 million in dividends to its sole shareholder, the Government of Canada.[10] Every ten years, the Minister of Industry must conduct a review of the provisions and operations of the BDC Act. The last legislative review was completed in December 2014.[11]

A BDC location in Moncton, New Brunswick
BDC Building, Stelco Tower, Hamilton, Ontario


BDC offers loans and consulting services with a focus on small and medium-sized companies. It reports to Parliament through the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.[12]

BDC Capital, a subsidiary of BDC, offers specialized financing, including venture capital, equity as well as growth and business transition capital.[13]

BDC's Venture Capital arm makes strategic investments in Canadian companies through its Energy/Cleantech Fund, Healthcare Fund and IT Fund. Notable investments include Q1 Labs, Radian6, Canopy Labs, D-Wave Systems, and Klipfolio Dashboard.[14][15]

BDC is a complementary lender, offering commercial loans and investments that fill out or complete services available from private-sector financial institutions. It also provides advice to businesses through its consulting division.[16]

Events and competitions organized by BDC[edit]

Small Business Week (SBW)[17] is an annual celebration of entrepreneurs and their contribution to Canadian society. A wide range of activities is held across the country during the third week of October. Small Business week was launched by BDC in 1979 and became a nationwide event in 1981.[18]


BDC has been named one of Canada’s Top 100 employers[19] every year since 2007.

In 2011, BDC Venture Capital won the CVCA “Deal of the Year Award” for the venture capital category, along with Brightspark Ventures and Summerhill Venture Partners, for its investment in Radian6 Technologies Inc.[20]


  1. ^ Annual Report 2016, p. 54
  2. ^ Canada's Department Of Justice. Retrieved 2012-05-04
  3. ^ Annual report 2016, p.4 Retrieved 2016-09-19
  4. ^ Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. Retrieved 2012-05-04
  5. ^ Official website. Retrieved 2012-05-04
  6. ^ a b Official website. Retrieved 2012-05-04
  7. ^ Official website. Retrieved 2012-05-04
  8. ^ Canada’s Department of Justice. Retrieved 2012-05-04
  9. ^ Official website. Retrieved 2012-06-06
  10. ^ BDC 2015 Annual Report, p. 31.
  11. ^ Official website. Retrieved 2015-08-12
  12. ^ Government of Canada. Retrieved 2016-09-19
  13. ^ BDC official website. Retrieved 2014-11-21
  14. ^ Official website. Retrieved 2014-06-05
  15. ^ Official website. Retrieved 2014-06-05
  16. ^ Official website. Retrieved 2012-05-04
  17. ^ Canadian Intellectual Property Office.;jsessionid=0001FWVNs03YvSo3G1oQ7l97_Vu:-U0PF90?lang=eng&status=OK&fileNumber=0902337&extension=0&startingDocumentIndexOnPage=1
  18. ^ Official website. Retrieved 2012-05-04
  19. ^ Canada’s Top 100 Employers. Retrieved 2012-05-04
  20. ^ Canada’s Venture Capital & Private Equity Association.

External links[edit]