BDC Pledges $325,000 to Entrepreneurs with Mental Health Challenges

One of the largest financial entities in Canada is helping to support a fund for a group many venture capitalists and banks overlook.

BDC is financing $325,000 worth of loans to be provided by Rise Asset Development to go towards entrepreneurs with mental health or addiction challenges. The total amount will be disbursed over the course of two years in loans of $5,000 or $10,000.

“We’re delighted to help Rise expand its innovative, empowering program,” says Michael Denham, president and CEO of BDC. “It fits perfectly with BDC’s purpose of support for entrepreneurs. Rise’s clients deserve the same consideration as other entrepreneurs – and Canada needs more Rises.”

Rise is a Toronto-based provider of low-interest small business loans and mentorship for Canadians with mental health problems or addictions. So far, Rise has extended over $1 million in loans, and this new funding from BDC will let Rise expand into other provinces. The companies Rise helps are not limited to tech and include design, art and more.

For example, Art of Ciel is an arts-based creative business that sells mixed-media artwork. Apanaki Designs creates on multi-media acrylic artwork incorporating African textiles collage on canvas. These are both examples of companies Rise has helped fund,

“Rise is excited to broaden our partnership with BDC,” says Robert J. McGuire, chair of Rise’s Board of Directors. “As we expand across Canada over the next three years, BDC’s support is making a big impact in the lives of resilient, hard-working and creative Canadians and their communities.”

Rise was founded in 2010 by the Rotman School of Management and the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health.

BDC has stepped up over the past years to try and offer more funding to marginalized groups. They have set up funds for women and recently signed a partnership with the Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada to better support women entrepreneurs. As of August 2017, BDC had invested $621 million into women-led startups.