The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has released its 2016 Annual Report for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016, outlining several highlights such as the fact that BDC is now directly and indirectly supporting more than 42,000 entrepreneurs in every region of Canada and every sector of the economy, a new high watermark for BDC, as well as recording a new high in terms of loan acceptances for the year. BDC committed a total of $4.8 billion in loans to its financing clients in the fiscal year, up from $4.7 billion the previous year, bringing its total portfolio to a total of $26 billion committed directly and indirectly. Nearly 20% of all BDC financing transactions were collaborations with private sector institutions and partners. \u201cAs Canada\u2019s only bank devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs, we\u2019re proud of our success in supporting\u00a0entrepreneurs in building strong and competitive businesses,\u201d says BDC President and CEO Michael Denham. \u201cIt is great to see that BDC\u2019s unique combination of loans, investments and advisory services is making a tangible difference to the growth of small and medium-sized businesses across Canada. In fiscal 2016, we also continued to work closely with partners in the entrepreneurship ecosystem, to provide more capital and more relevant advice to Canada\u2019s business owners.\u201d BDC Capital, the investment arm of BDC, authorized $253.1 million in venture capital investments in fiscal 2016, up 36% from the $185.4 million authorized in 2015, as well as a 12% increase in growth and transition financing going to clients, at $259.1 million. BDC Capital reported $121.1 million in net income, which is $59.3 million higher than the previous year, further cementing its status as Canada's largest and most active venture capital firm. In keeping with trends sparked by the popularity of innovation hubs and start-up incubators, BDC opened 12 new business centres across Canada, bringing its total number of locations to 112. And seeking to redress the lack of gender balance in Canadian business across the board, BDC authorized $247.4 million in loans to majority-owned women businesses, furthermore committing to an increase of its term lending to majority women-owned businesses to a minimum of $700 million over the next three years. BDC as a whole earned $537.7 million in net income, up from $490.7 million in fiscal 2015, resulting in a dividend payment of $68.6 million to the Government of Canada. Profits generated during fiscal 2016 will be reinvested in the bank\u2019s operations, allowing the bank to increase the number of supported entrepreneurs in coming years. Alongside the $4.8 billion in business loans, BDC also continued to provide advisory services, including practical advice on a wide range of subjects, from finance, operations, technology and international growth, to help entrepreneurs become more globally competitive. BDC also put together a team of experienced individuals, specifically aimed at offering customized support to what it identifies as high-impact small and medium-sized firms to grow, globalize and build management skills, representing a line of business that BDC claims has generated $16.7 million in total revenues for the year. BDC also allocated $500 million in financial and consulting services to support small and medium-sized businesses that have been hit especially hard by the collapse of the oil & gas sector, helping them to diversify and become more efficient. Six months in to their oil & gas assistance program, BDC has authorized more than 720 loans worth nearly $200 million, representing an increase of 30% in value of loans to the sector since fiscal 2015. Also, specifically focused on helping manufacturers acquire equipment through more flexible financing options, BDC collaborated with the Laurentian Bank of Canada, and entered into a partnership with Futurpreneur Canada and the Royal Bank of Canada to expand financing for young entrepreneurs.