BDC partners with MaRS to support more Canadian social purpose firms - Pilot collaboration will provide advice and facilitate connections for social entrepreneurs

TORONTO, March 18, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - MaRS Discovery District's Centre for Impact Investing and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) have joined forces to boost support for Canadian entrepreneurs who are building social purpose businesses and to help strengthen the impact investing marketplace in Canada.

Social purpose firms create social or environmental value, while generating financial returns. This includes investments that produce a return of principal capital to offering market-rate or even market-beating financial returns.

The new agreement will see BDC support entrepreneurs in MaRS' Impact8 program with advice. Impact8 is a social venture boot camp that aims to fast-track social enterprises and social purpose businesses to help them reach investment readiness. BDC's small business experts will also provide financing for ventures that are investment-ready.

"This partnership is a great opportunity to build national momentum in support of impact investing.  Growth businesses that also strengthen the fabric of our society or improve the quality of our environment are critical to Canada's future," said Ilse Treurnicht, CEO of MaRS. "In working with MaRS and BDC, these extraordinary entrepreneurs will access a critical national network, expanding their market reach and connections to much-needed capital. In doing so, they will make a bigger difference."

"We want to be where these social entrepreneurs are and many are at MaRS," said Craig Ryan, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at BDC. "To succeed, these companies need financing and sometimes advice. Our expertise lies in providing both."

BDC will also co-host four MaRS Impact Venture Fairs—a social entrepreneur pitch fair—in major Canadian cities and provide office space in its Montreal headquarters for a visiting employee from the MaRS' Centre for Impact Investing.

About BDC
Canada's business development bank, BDC, puts entrepreneurs first. With almost 2,000 employees and more than 100 business centres across the country, BDC offers financing, subordinate financing, venture capital, securitization and consulting services to more than 28,000 small and medium-sized companies. Their success is vital to Canada's economic prosperity. www.bdc.ca

About MaRS
MaRS Discovery District (@MaRSDD) is a mission-driven innovation centre located in Toronto. MaRS works with partners to catalyze, accelerate and amplify innovation. MaRS supports entrepreneurs building Canada's next generation of growth companies. MaRS' ventures have created over 4,000 jobs and, in the last three years alone, they have raised over $750 million in capital and earned over $375 million in revenue.

About the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing
The MaRS Centre for Impact Investing works to increase the awareness and the effectiveness of social finance with the aim of driving new capital, talent, and initiatives dedicated to tackling social and environmental problems.

SOURCE BDC Venture Capital

For further information:

Maria Constantinescu
Senior Advisor, Public Relations -BDC
(514) 496-7146
maria.constantinescu@bdc.ca