CDPQ forms Equity 253 to back more diverse Canadian SMEs

Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec has formed Equity 253 to invest C$5 million to C$30 million in growing Quebec and Canadian small businesses committed to diversity and inclusion.

Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec has formed Equity 253 to invest C$5 million to C$30 million in growing Quebec and Canadian small and medium-sized businesses committed to diversity and inclusion. The fund was capitalized with C$250 million. Eligible companies must commit to diversifying workforces so that at least 25 percent of boards, management teams and shareholding reflect people of diverse backgrounds, such as women, visible minorities and indigenous people, in the five years following confirmation of financing.

PRESS RELEASE

MONTRÉAL, Oct. 20, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ – Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) announced the creation of Equity 253, an investment fund aimed at increasing diversity and inclusion in growing SMEs in Québec and Canada. With a total of $250 million in funding, Equity 253 is the largest Canadian fund ever created to target companies leveraging diversity as a vector of development and expansion.

“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.

To be selected, SMEs will need to commit to diversifying their workforce so that at least 25% of their Boards of Directors, management teams and shareholding is comprised of people of diverse backgrounds (e.g. women, visible minorities, Indigenous peoples) in the five years following confirmation of financing. To facilitate achieving these objectives, CDPQ commits to providing the companies with operational guidance to implement and execute a customized diversity and inclusion plan.

Equity 253 offers investments from $5 million to $30 million and targets profitable SMEs and promising technology companies based in Québec or elsewhere in Canada. In addition to their commitments to diversity, mid-market companies will need to show strong growth combined with a history of profitability. Tech companies will need to demonstrate strong growth in sales, solid recurring revenue and a competitive technological 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 Ms. Thomassin.

Companies may submit a financing request by filling out the form on https://www.cdpq.com/en/equity25-3, where they can also find more information on the fund, including eligibility criteria and details on the members of its strategic committee.

ABOUT CAISSE DE DÉPÔT ET PLACEMENT DU QUÉBEC
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) is a long-term institutional investor that manages funds primarily for public and parapublic pension and insurance plans. As at June 30, 2020, it held CAD 333.0 billion in net assets. As one of Canada’s leading institutional fund managers, CDPQ invests globally in major financial markets, private equity, infrastructure, real estate and private debt. For more information, visit cdpq.com, follow us on Twitter @LaCDPQ or consult our Facebook or LinkedIn pages.