Pioneering BDC China Trade Mission Opens Doors for Women Tech Leaders

BDC, MONTREAL (APR 26, 2018)

Canadian AI-driven software companies Irystec, Zighra, Miovision and Fluent.ia met key Chinese customers

Four early-stage Canadian tech firms led and co-led by women met key Chinese customers in a pioneering week-long trade mission to China in April organized by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).

The mission allowed artificial intelligence-driven software companies Irystec, Zighra, Miovision and Fluent.ia to meet major Chinese business partners and institutional investors in BeijingShenzhen and Hong Kong.

“This was one of the most successful trade missions I have been involved with in many years of supporting CanadaChinatrade. I believe it significantly raised Canada’s profile as a country with disruptive and highly innovative technology companies,” says Alison Nankivell, Vice President, Global Expansion at BDC.

“We wanted to organize a BDC-focused trade mission built around the needs of our clients. Most other missions focus on industrial and mid-sized companies, but fewer focus on the technology sector, early-stage companies or women entrepreneurs. If it makes sense for our companies, we’ll hold more missions like this in China and elsewhere,” Nankivell says.

“BDC’s sponsored trade mission for Canadian women entrepreneurs helped Zighra make invaluable introductions to tech savvy partners and customers in China and Hong Kong” said MJ Couldridge, VP of Partnerships and Sales, Zighra.

Michelle Scarborough, Managing Director, Strategic Investments and Women in Tech at BDC Capital, agreed on the mission’s success: “We are very excited about the new opportunities for our participants. Some of the Chinese investors were so impressed they are interested in meeting other Canadian women-led and co-led tech companies. We had greater-than-expected benefits.

“If Canadian businesses don’t go abroad, they will miss out. There is no substitute for face-to-face meetings,” she says.

The mission culminated with a visit to Hong Kong’s International ICT Expo, Asia’s premier ICT trade fair, where the four companies had a space in the Team Canada booth. The mission is part of BDC’s effort to support women entrepreneurs, which includes $1.4 billion in loans to women-owned firms by 2021 and $200 million in investments through the Bank’s Women in Technology program.

About BDC

BDC is the only bank devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs. It promotes Canadian entrepreneurship with a focus on small and medium-sized businesses. With its 118 business centres from coast to coast, BDC provides businesses in all industries with financing and advisory services. Its investment arm, BDC Capital, offers equity, venture capital and flexible growth and transition capital solutions. BDC is also the first financial institution in Canada to receive B Corp certification. To find out more, visit


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