Encouraging growth: 10 years of BDIC investment in NWT businesses

After traditional banks balked at financing Dr. Nicole Redvers’ Gaia Integrative Clinic because of her student loans, the BDIC stepped up. It’s now a wildly successful business in the middle of a significant expansion.

Serving all communities, the NWT Business Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC) fills a critical role as the lender of last resort for Northwest Territories businesses. This is important because banks in Canada rarely fund the start-up businesses that drive economic development and the NWT has very few investors or venture capitalists willing to support these ventures.

As of today, it’s been 10 years since the BDIC was created through combining the former NWT Business Credit Corporation and NWT Development Corporation. Mandated to support businesses and economic development across the NWT, over the past 10 years the BDIC’s evolved into a one-stop-shop for business services.

The BDIC has achieved success by focusing on three things:

  • Investing in businesses
  • Creating jobs
  • Investing in communities

Over the past decade, the organization has:

  • Approved more than 400 applications
  • Delivered over $70 million in financial assistance to businesses that need it most
  • Created 210 jobs in the territory through its subsidiaries while paying out $6.4 million in salaries
  • Increased by tenfold the amount of contributions it provides to businesses

For more information information on how the BDIC’s invested in communities and encouraged business success over the past 10 years, click here.

Sharing BDIC Success

To celebrate 10 years of supporting NWT businesses, here are just a few BDIC success stories.

Gaia Integrative Clinic – Yellowknife

Gaia Integrative Clinic is a full-service wellness centre providing NWT residents with unprecedented choice in medical care. Since 2011, the clinic has grown from a home-based operation to a bustling office in downtown Yellowknife. Its founder, Dr. Nicole Redvers, has received national recognition as a finalist for the 2014 Business Development Bank of Canada Young Entrepreneur Award.

Initially, Dr. Redvers faced a challenge in obtaining financing for the clinic. After completing her medical studies, like many young professionals, she had trouble borrowing from banks due to her student loans. When other options fell through, she turned to the BDIC which she credits with helping fund the clinic and make it a reality. “Without services like BDIC, I don’t think we’d be where we are today,” she says.

Today, Gaia continues on a path of steady growth. The clinic is nearing completion of a 1,600-square-foot expansion that will see more practitioners flock to an already sizable roster of registered massage therapists, a life coach, counseling therapist, mental health counselor, and birth doula.

Fort McPherson Tent & Canvas

 An intimate look at the people and process behind this uniquely northern business.

Since 1970, the Fort McPherson Tent & Canvas Shop has designed and manufactured arctic tough tents and teepees. In recent years, the shop has expanded its line of products to include sled wrappers, hockey bags and other durable canvas products.

In 2005, the BDIC assumed ownership of the company, which is still the community’s largest private employer. Following successful marketing initiatives, the shop now sells products around the world, its teepees and tents found in wilderness camps across the north and around the globe.

The shop’s traditional canvas teepees are of the same style used by generations of Gwich’in hunters, fishers and trappers. They are fire and mildew resistant, built to withstand extreme cold and heat, and work well as either a temporary camp or permanent structure.

Franklin Ross working at the Fort McPherson Tent & Canvas operation.

Poison Graphics – Hay River

No company has left its mark on the NWT quite like Poison Graphics. The Hay River-based sign shop has designed, manufactured, and installed signage all over the territory, from the welcome sign greeting travellers at the 60th parallel to the custom wraps and decals that have turned vehicles around the NWT into what the company dubs “rolling billboards.”

Owner Wally Schumann has led Poison Graphics’ evolution from a one-person auto body and paint shop to the largest one-stop shop for graphics and advertising in the territory.

Schumann acknowledges the critical role the BDIC has played in the company’s growth. “We have worked hard to get to where we are, but without the assistance of the BDIC in purchasing our equipment through the years I am not sure we would have gotten to the size of operation we are. They are truly one of our most important partners,” he says.

Poison Graphics owner Wally Schumann receiving a BDIC award from Minister David Ramsay in 2012.


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