Upping the ante for Canadian cleantech companies


Innovative Canadian clean technology firms have the potential to not only advance Canada’s sustainable economy, but also to drive clean growth across the globe. Despite Canadian cleantech entrepreneurs being best in class, they continue to face difficulties scaling their business. With its mandate to support these companies announced in Budget 2017, BDC is poised to help Canadian cleantech companies overcome this hurdle.

BDC has a long history of investing in cleantech both directly and indirectly, particularly in venture capital. Through our Industrial, Clean and Energy Technology Venture Capital Fund with $287M capital under management, we have been investing in cleantech start-ups with global potential for 16 years. We also invest indirectly through leading cleantech VC funds and provide term debt and other financing to cleantech firms.

Building on this experience, Budget 2017 announced BDC’s $700-million, five-year commitment to the cleantech industry to help Canadian cleantech firms grow. This new capital allows BDC to take on more risk and provide debt and equity financing to help cleantech companies overcome barriers to scale and better compete globally.

Selection criteria include commercially demonstrated or market-ready technology generating positive environmental impact, substantial revenue growth potential, and management ambition and capacity to scale up.

While access to capital is key, we also know that it is not the only piece of the Canadian cleantech puzzle. These firms require more than just money to succeed. Getting the proper advice can be a game changer. Given this, our cleantech practice is also leveraging our network of highly seasoned executive advisors to provide tailored advisory services.

We also know that navigating the vast number of programs and initiatives available can be overwhelming for companies. This is why partnerships and collaboration across the ecosystem are of vital importance for providing coordinated support. We are working closely with Export Development Canada, Sustainable Development Technology Canada, the Clean Growth Hub and others in order to take a team approach to growing Canadian cleantech champions.

Spearheading this entire initiative, we have created a new national multidisciplinary team fully dedicated to cleantech. We were proud to recently announce the team’s first four investments, totalling $40 million. These are investments are in leading scale-ups covering a diverse range of technologies, including biofuels, plastics recycling, heavy oil upgrading and remote GHG sensing.

These four investments are just the beginning. Our intent is to back the best in Canadian cleantech and our endgame is a commercially self-sustaining cleantech industry that catalyzes ever-greater institutional investment.BDC is proud of the role it can playto help our most promising companies scale into global cleantech champions.

Susan Rohac, Vice President, Cleantech Practice, BDC

BDC is the only bank devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs. It promotes Canadian entrepreneurship with a focus on small and medium-sized businesses. With its 118 business centres from coast to coast, BDC provides businesses in all industries with financing and advisory services. Its investment arm, BDC Capital, offers equity, venture capital and flexible growth and transition capital solutions. BDC is also the first financial institution in Canada to receive B Corp certification. To find out more, visit bdc.ca.

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