The partnership between the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Futurpreneur, established in 2008, has both extended young entrepreneurs’ access to startup capital and provided them with enhanced opportunities to make their business dreams a reality.
This novel collaboration has evolved from BDC’s initial provision of matching loans for eligible Futurpreneur clients to an increased two-to-one match that has resulted in a doubling of BDC’s lending commitment to Futurpreneur-approved startups, while embracing Futurpreneur’s proven adjudication process. Today, the two organizations provide startup financing of up to $60,000 (up to $20,000 from Futurpreneur and up to $40,000 from BDC).
With its 1995 Parliament of Canada mandate to assist entrepreneurs and to fill gaps in lending options for underserved segments of the population, BDC has built relationships across Canada to meet the important goals of its mission. As part of its efforts to address the needs of young entrepreneurs, BDC’s partnership with Futurpreneur has developed well beyond the critical provision of additional financing. Today, the partnership is a true alliance based on a shared commitment and a common purpose that is dedicated to enhancing opportunities for diverse young people in all parts of the country who wish to start their own business ventures. BDC provides supplementary financing to approximately 60% of the entrepreneurs who are supported by Futurpreneur and, in fact, approximately the same percentage of the diverse entrepreneurs from all across the country.
The relationship between the two organizations has grown in many other important ways, not the least of which is their shared commitment to diversity and inclusion. Today, BDC is an important lending partner in Futurpreneur’s recently established Black Entrepreneur Startup Program funded by RBC. This program seeks to address key barriers to success that young, Black entrepreneurs face, particularly in financing. In addition, BDC supports and contributes to Futurpreneur’s Trailblazer initiative, a program that profiles young entrepreneurs with themes that include celebrating the inspiring stories of young women entrepreneurs and providing a forum for discussions on the mental health issues encountered by many startup founders.
As Futurpreneur marks its 25 years of service to young entrepreneurs, it is proud to highlight its partnership with BDC. Substantial credit for the success in forging the relationship goes to those who were instrumental in developing the initial partnership and sorting through the myriad details that resulted in delivering enhanced financing opportunities for a new generation of enterprising young entrepreneurs. Special mention goes to two individuals who were fundamental to making the partnership a reality: Futurpreneur’s long-serving former Chief Operating Office, Terry Campbell, and BDC’s former Assistant Vice-President for Product Development, Louis Dallaire. It was their diligence, insight, and collaboration that made the partnership a reality and developed the terms that served as a foundation upon which to expand and to serve an ever-increasing number of young entrepreneurs for more than a decade. Today, with Futurpreneur as its primary partner for startups, BDC plays an integral role in helping to bring young entrepreneurs to launch stage and that brings more value to young people with novel business ideas.