Calgary

Alberta businesses to get $1B in new loans from BDC and ATB Financial

Small- and medium-sized businesses in Alberta will have access to $1 billion in new loans over the next two years through a deal between the Business Development Bank of Canada and ATB Financial.

2-year program aimed at helping small and medium enterprises through tough economic times

Dave Mowat, president and CEO of ATB Financial, said the loans are aimed at helping businesses grow as the province's economy rebounds. (Larry MacDougal/Canadian Press)

Small- and medium-sized businesses in Alberta will have access to $1 billion in new loans over the next two years through a deal between the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and ATB Financial.

The federal and provincial Crown corporations will each earmark $500 million in capital to lend to companies of roughly 100 employees or less that are looking to expand their operations, said Michael Selci, a senior vice-president with BDC.

"The fund itself is looking at providing loans in the neighbourhood of $500,000 to $10 million," he said. "So these are pretty major projects for companies."

The goal is to help Alberta businesses get through a challenging economic period, Selci said. 

"BDC tries to respond when times are tough, and I'm not going to sugar-coat it — we're not out of the woods yet," he said.

"We need to be aggressive when times are tough."

While BDC has partnered with other financial institutions in the past, Selci said this $1-billion agreement with ATB is unique in its size and scope.

'Backbone of Alberta'

Finance Minister Joe Ceci said the loans will help businesses that are "the backbone of Alberta."

"This investment means more entrepreneurs and job creators will be able to access the capital they need to take their business to the next level," Ceci said in a release.

"Diversifying our economy continues to be a top priority for our government and this type of investment ensures Alberta will become a more resilient place to do business."

Selci said businesses that don't qualify for loans under this particular program can still apply for funds from BDC under other aspects of its operation.

ATB president and CEO Dave Mowat said the $1 billion in new capital should provide a "boost to Alberta's entrepreneurs" as, hopefully, the province's economy begins to recover.

"The most important time for businesses to be able to access capital is when an economy begins to rebound," Mowat said in a release.

"That's when businesses can really start to grow and we want to help provide that opportunity."

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