Gender balance within a company is a key criteria for Canada’s newly launched $400 million Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative (VCCI), which is also expected to inject approximately $1.5 billion into Canada’s innovation capital market.

Successful candidates looking to take advantage of the funding, made possible through the Business Development Bank of Canada, will have to report on the gender balance of the fund managers and entrepreneurs they support, according to a statement from the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Monday.

One stream of funding, worth $350 million, will be dedicated to private-sector-led applications looking to support more women fund managers and investing in key underserved Canadian sectors and regions.

A second $50 million stream will be allocated to proposals that invest in emerging and underserved sectors, support unconventional financing models such as micro-funds, and support women-run businesses.

Last year marked the seventh straight year of growth for venture capital in Canada and the most venture capital invested in startups since 2000. A total of 459 Canadian companies accepted investments totaling $3.7 billion in 2016.

Canada is now ranked third for venture capital investment according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

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