September 30, 2022
The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) is seeking to unlock the promise of Canadian women entrepreneurs with the launch of its $500 million Thrive Venture Fund and Lab for Women. This investment platform will be the largest of its kind in the world and will build on BDC’s $200 million Women in Technology Venture Fund.
BDC created the Thrive platform to knock down barriers that keep women entrepreneurs in Canada from accessing the capital they need to succeed on the global stage. These barriers include chronic underfunding and a shortage of women venture capitalists, both of which can be attributed to documented systemic bias.
The Thrive platform is made up of three components. First, the Thrive Venture Fund will provide $300 million in direct investments to women-led technology businesses at the seed and Series A/B stages, focusing on companies with strong growth and scalable market potential. Second, the Thrive Lab will contribute $100 million to fill financing gaps for growing women-led companies that may not be on a traditional path to securing venture capital. Third, the Thrive Indirect Investment Envelope will invest $100 million in women-led and focused general partners across Canada to build on BDC’s leadership in diversity, equity and inclusion.
BDC’s announcement is a welcomed development. Fundraising has always been difficult for women and underrepresented groups, but securing funding has become even more challenging as venture capital slowed in the second quarter of 2022. The Thrive platform is therefore an encouraging sign not only for women entrepreneurs, but also for the Canadian economy which prospers when women have access to the resources they need to meet their potential.
Author: Jennifer Linde