Briefing

A first for Canada: An Indigenous-focused fund that projects eight per cent returns

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Toronto-based Bridging Finance—which manages $1.3 billion and has an Indigenous chief executive—is launching the fund that will invest in on-reserve economic development projects. The fund is looking to quickly provide small loans to Indigenous businesses and then sell the debt to large banks. (Globe and Mail)

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Talking point: Traditional lenders on economic development projects use land as collateral, but that isn’t possible with on-reserve lending, where the land is collectively owned by Indigenous people. Government funding and traditional bank loans are available, but both tend to require longer timelines than what Bridging Finance has provided in the past. For example, the firm financed the purchase of a $23-million icebreaker from an Inuit collective, and it needed to close the deal in 30 days. There’s a pipeline of deals worth between $400 million and $500 million in this space, meaning there’s plenty of room for Bridging Finance to grow, and plenty of room for competition.