STAFF WRITER – The Ottawa Construction News Special Feature
BDC (Business Development Bank of Canada) is the only financial institution dedicated to entrepreneurs. Through its multiple service offerings, it can help business owners buy property and equipment, can assist with cashflow challenges, and can provide consulting services to help businesses do better. It can also, as in the case of Mar Gard, assist with ownership changes.
Paul Smulski, senior account manager, acquisition, says because BDC’s key shareholder is the government of Canada, and because its mandate is to fill gaps the banks can’t, BDC offers solutions beyond what many people expect and can take theoretical risks banks can’t, when they make sense.
“In the case of Mar Gard we were able to help with the transition of ownership. The company has a long history, a good reputation in the community, an experienced new owner and a former owner staying on to provide his experience and expertise through the transition and beyond.”
He says BDC’s flexibility allows it to provide solutions to the largest companies in the region, as well as to small start ups. BDC’s ideal client, he says, is the company that is doing well, is growing, but which perhaps struggles with cash flow. “Holdbacks for instance are the bane of existence for many companies. That’s a great example of how we can help bridge the gap to keep companies moving forward while they wait on that payment to come.”
Another aspect of BDC’s flexibility is an option to offer 12 or 24-months interest only payments. Smulski says the company understands that when new equipment has been bought it can take time to get up and running so that it is profitable. “Similarly when a company is buying a property to build or when there is a change of ownership, it may take time to get things fully operational. During that time, it can help to only have interest payments to worry about.”
Smulski says BDC does all of its due diligence up front and tries not to overburden business owners with paperwork. That means the bank wants to ensure the success of what the business is trying to do, but may for instance ask for annual reporting rather than monthly accounting.
While it can do more than banks in many ways, he says BDC is structured like a bank, with account managers working with specific clients so there is always one point of contact and that is with someone who has gotten to know the business and its needs.
BDC also has a consulting department that can assist clients with operational processes, HR issues, technology selection and strategic planning. “As with our other areas, this involves getting to know the client and their business, seeing how things work, and understanding how they might be improved.”
For more information about BDC Contact Paul Smulski at 613-995-8183 or visit https://www.bdc.ca.