Briefing

BDC CEO says Canada’s largest investor isn’t scaling back this year

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After his Canadian Club talk in Toronto on Wednesday, Business Development Bank of Canada CEO Michael Denham sat down with The Logic to talk about the firm’s investment strategy, which includes increasing its capacity to co-invest in deals, writing bigger cheques in funds and companies and trying to make loans more accessible to entrepreneurs by investing in technology that can get them approved quicker. Denham also said the bank wants to make funding more accessible to Indigenous entrepreneurs; Budget 2019 earmarked $100 million to establish an Indigenous Growth Fund, supported by BDC and the Social Finance Fund. The funding will go to Aboriginal Financial Institutions. (The Logic)

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Talking point: While banks and investors brace for a potential downturn this year, Denham said BDC would continue to act as a complementary lender to entrepreneurs. “We’re responding to liquidity and steps that other financial institutions are taking to make sure we stay complementary,” he said. On the venture capital side, Denham said BDC anticipates investing directly and indirectly in companies at historic levels; in 2018, BDC committed $31 billion in capital to entrepreneurs. He said BDC isn’t worried about there being too much equity or too few entrepreneurs to invest in. “We actually think things are nicely in balance, so we don’t see a need to course correct.”