Business trainer giving presentation to a group of young entrepreneurs

Since 2015, BDC and CPA Canada have been pairing up to deliver volunteer-led financial literacy workshops and sessions. (Photo by Africa Studio/Shutterstock)

Canada | Small business

CPA Canada and BDC partner to deliver financial literacy sessions for entrepreneurs across the country 

The two institutions have been working together for several years to ensure new and established business owners have the financial skills they need to succeed.

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More than 99 per cent of businesses in Canada are small businesses. No wonder, then, that for the past 40 years, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has been organizing an annual celebration for them, aptly entitled BDC Small Business Week. Running from October 14 to 20 this year, it includes more than 500 events being held coast to coast for entrepreneurs to get together, network and learn.

BDC is the only financial institution in Canada that is devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs, and like CPA Canada, it has an interest in financial literacy. That is why it’s a good partner for CPA Canada’s financial literacy program. Since 2015, BDC and CPA Canada have been pairing up to deliver volunteer-led financial literacy workshops and sessions. This year alone, they have co-presented 43 sessions across the country. Often, these are held over breakfast or lunch. While BDC provides the amenities, including the venue, food and beverages, CPA Canada volunteers offer the training, using materials developed by the financial literacy program.

“BDC has been a strong collaborator for the past several years, using our content and volunteers to deliver education to thousands of budding and established entrepreneurs,” adds Doretta Thompson, director of corporate citizenship, CPA Canada.

This year, CPA Canada worked with BDC to present financial literacy sessions to Indigenous entrepreneurs in Canada’s remote northern communities. They have also partnered together for the bank’s newly expanded program for women entrepreneurs, which launched last June with boot camps for women entrepreneurs interested in scaling up their business. By March 2019, it will have completed 15 sessions.

“Unlike the breakfast or lunch sessions, these are full-day workshops that include topics such as strategy, culture, sales and marketing, understanding your numbers, and how to approach a bank,” says Laura Didyk, CPA, CMA, VP, Alberta South & National Lead, Women Entrepreneur Strategy, for BDC. “For these sessions, CPA volunteers come in to present a one-hour session on reading financial statements entitled, ‘Your Numbers…Your Story’, using content developed by CPA Canada.

Beyond its contribution to the BDC bootcamps, CPA Canada has developed its own dedicated program for women entrepreneurs that covers financial statements, cash, growth and financing. As Li Zhang, CPA Canada’s principal of corporate citizenship, explains, this program will be offered nationally through CPA Canada’s financial literacy program at the conclusion of BDC’s bootcamps for women entrepreneurs.

“CPA Canada’s financial literacy program is so successful due to the community partners we develop,” says Thompson. “We are looking forward to continuing the work with BDC and providing exceptional education in support of small businesses and the Canadian economy.”


Interested in improving the financial health of entrepreneurs and other Canadians? Find out more about CPA Canada’s financial literacy program. And join other like-minded professionals at CPA Canada’s Mastering Money Conference from November 22 to 23, 2018 in Vancouver, B.C.

BDC releases study on digital maturity

In addition to holding hundreds of events across the country for BDC Small Business Week themed, Digitize now: Transform your business, BDC is releasing the results of a study that provides an overview of where SMEs stand in terms of digital maturity. It has also developed a special assessment tool for entrepreneurs that measures how advanced a company is in its use of digital technologies.

“In four minutes you can assess the level of digital maturity in your business,” explains Didyk. The tool works by asking a series of questions about a business’s use of digital technologies and its ability to manage change. It also compares the company’s digital maturity with its industry peers and provides advice and a list of resources to help make improvements.