This week, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) announced the creation of a massive $250 million investment fund aimed at increasing diversity and inclusion within growing SMEs in Quebec and across Canada. Equity 253 is the largest Canadian fund targeting companies which are leveraging diversity as a driver for growth.
“It has been clearly established that greater corporate diversity positively impacts innovation, risk management, productivity and financial performance. Through this dedicated fund, we want to encourage SMEs to increase diversity in their organizations using a measurable objective so they can benefit from this additional performance lever,” said Kim Thomassin, CDPQ’s Executive Vice–President and Head of Investments in Québec and Stewardship Investing.
The fund will make investments from $5 million to $30 million in Canadian companies committed to diversity. That commitment is defined as having a board, management team and ownership with at least 25% of the individuals in each of these groups hailing from underrepresented groups, such as women or visible minorities, for 5 years after financing.
On top of this, candidates for funding from Equity 253 will also be held to CDPQ’s high standards for investment, including requirements for both future growth and past profitability. Tech companies specifically will be selected based on sales growth, recurring revenue and a compelling offering.
“Diversity and inclusion are one of CDPQ’s strategic priorities for stewardship investing. Following several years of promoting gender equality, CDPQ is now broadening the scope of its actions to further address ethnocultural diversity issues. Creating Equity 253 is one way of doing this,” added Thomassin.
CDPQ has pledged to provide selected companies with operational guidance to implement and execute a customized diversity and inclusion plan. Companies interested in accessing this financing and which believe they meet the criteria may submit a request form by following this link.