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Need a small business loan? Google hopes so

Two recent investments suggest that Google strongly supports alternative financing models for small business owners.


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Google backs two alternative lending companies

While Google won't be handing out loans to small business owners anytime soon, two recent investments suggest that the alternative lending industry is rife with opportunity.

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On May 2, Google announced that it is backing peer-to-peer lending site Lending Club with $125-million (U.S.). And just a day earlier, it said it was investing $17-million in On Deck Capital, a company that uses data aggregation and electronic payment technology to help 'smaller' small business owners (i.e. those that banks may not consider) secure the capital, according to Businessweek.

So what does this mean for the lending companies? Well, a strategic alliance with a company like Google could have several implications; first of all, it provides the lender with publicity but also credibility. For Lending Club in particular, it could also mean increased borrower acquisition which in turn would expand their data pools, says Peter Renton founder of Lend Academy in the Businessweek article. Also, the combination of their peer-to-peer lending with Google's mobile payments platform could allow a customer to apply for a loan at the point of purchase, he adds.

More support for Canadian startups in the U.S.

In an effort to help Canadian startups take their business to the next level, BDC Venture Capital is partnering with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) to expand the Canadian Technology Accelerator (CTA) program in the United States.

"The intent is that this translates into greater and faster growth of new Canadian companies that are more competitive and improve long-term economic prospects for the whole country," says Jean-René Halde, president and chief executive officer of BDC.

Similarly to privately-run accelerators in Canada, DFAIT's CTAs in the U.S. host selected Canadian tech startups SMEs for a number of months, providing them with office space free of charge, mentoring and networking opportunities as well as introductions to key players in the local business and tech communities.

The CTAs cover the high tech sectors of IT, life sciences, gaming, clean tech and healthcare, with some of the CTAs specializing in one or two of these sectors.

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Notable alumnus of the U.S.-based CTAs include: AdParlor,, Frank & Oak, ScribbleLive, HealthAware and Shoplocket.


Ivey Venture Forum

On Thursday, May 30 at 6:00 p.m. at the Toronto Board of Trade, the Ivey Venture Forum will bring entrepreneurs and investors together for an interactive discussion. Five entrepreneurs will pitch their companies to a panel of judges and audience of investors. Unlike Dragons' Den though, the audience in attendance as well as followers on Twitter will have the opportunity to ask questions to the contestants. The winning entrepreneur will be announced at the end of the event. Find more details of the event here.

Digital Alberta's awards taking submissions

The Digital Alberta Awards, now in its third year, is a ceremony designed to recognize leaders in innovation, creativity and the evolving digital sector in Alberta. Award submissions are now open until May 15.

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This year's categories include companies, individual entrepreneurs, student and education leaders, organizations in both the government and not for profit sector, and those whose industry sectors may not traditionally be considered in the realm of 'digital media', but are raising the bar as they converge with technology.

Calling all visionary women entrepreneurs

Ernst & Young LLP is looking for women entrepreneurs with the vision and passion to accelerate the growth of their companies for its 2013 North American Entrepreneurial Winning Women Program. The call for applications and nominations is now open to both American and Canadian entrepreneurs and runs through June 28, 2013.


The Score's new office is a sports fan's paradise

John Levy, chairman and CEO of The Score, shows off his company's new office space in Toronto


Five chains that were born in Alberta

Globe reporter Josh Wingrove looks at five restaurant chains that got their start in the Prairie province

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