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National Bank Launches SME Growth Fund to Assist with COVID Recovery


February 16, 2021


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As written in Betakit, the National Bank of Canada (“National Bank”) has completed its capitalization of the CAD$200 million National Bank SME Growth Fund, L.P (the “Fund”). The Fund, which was launched in partnership with the Government of Quebec, aims “to support the digital transformation of small to medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) and their recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic”. While National Bank did not disclose the current amount raised, the Fund has attracted over 245 private investors. National Bank Investments, a subsidiary of National Bank, will serve as the Fund’s manager.


Financing can be obtained to “support businesses with their transfer, growth, and acquisition projects”. To be eligible, businesses must:

· have assets of less than CAD$200 million or a net worth of less than CAD$100 million;

· request financing between CAD$500,000 and CAD$15 million;

· have a detailed business and project plan with growth prospects;

· be a private company with an adequate capital structure; and

· have been profitable in two of the last three years or have had sustained and significant sales growth over this

period.


Several reports, including those by Startup Genome and the Business Development Bank of Canada, have found that start-ups in Canada have been “affected significantly” by the pandemic. As Luc Ménard, executive-vice president and managing director of private investments at National Bank stated, the Fund aims to help mitigate these challenges by “offering concrete solutions to help [SMEs] seize new development opportunities”. The Fund builds on National Bank’s existing corporate venture capital arm, NAVentures, which “invests in, partners with, and scales early to mid-stage companies”, including financial technology start-ups like Moka (formerly, Mylo), Flinks, and KOHO.


Author: Andrew Patel

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