Since joining The Business Development Bank of Canada — better known as BDC, Canada’s bank for entrepreneurs — in 1994, Laura Didyk has had the opportunity to work with all types of business owners, at all stages and industries, helping them access the advice and capital needed to grow and succeed. An ally and advocate for women business owners and leaders throughout her career, for nearly two years it has been her official job; as Vice President and National Lead, Women Entrepreneurs, Laura drives BDC’s mandate to support women entrepreneurs across the country, ensuring the strategy is integrated across the entire bank.
My first job ever was…. scooping ice cream and making milkshakes at our neighborhood ice cream shop for the summer. In fact, the owners asked me to manage it one summer and it was my first taste of entrepreneurship and what it takes to run a business.
The best part of my role at BDC is… helping business owners reach their goals. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing an entrepreneur move from an idea, to a business plan, to a viable business and success (and of course the whole range of emotions in between).
My proudest accomplishment is… the thousands of businesses I have helped over the years, my great marriage of 22 years, and bringing up two beautiful confident daughters.
I surprise people when I tell them… I took actuary science in university.
My best advice from a mentor was… never turn down an opportunity that is presented to you.
My best advice to women entrepreneurs is… lean on the community around you; we all want you to succeed.
The best lesson I’ve learned from women entrepreneurs is… courage and resilience.
“There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing an entrepreneur move from an idea, to a business plan, to a viable business and success.”
My biggest setback was… when she was two years old, my oldest daughter was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis.
I overcame it by… staying positive, learning as much as I could about the disease, listening to the advice of specialists, and leaning on my community of family and friends. Today, our 17-year-old daughter is able to maintain a great quality of life and do most of the things she loves, like skiing, rowing and hiking!
The one piece of advice I give that I have trouble following myself is… don’t take on too much, it is ok to say no.
If I had an extra hour in the day, I would… take French lessons.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… I love to eat! I especially love eating out and make sure that I try a new restaurant every time I eat out. It is fun for me and I love supporting local businesses!
My advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is… network, network, network.
I stay inspired by… going out and meeting women entrepreneurs.
The future excites me because… the world has realized the value in diversity. We need to seize the opportunity to make an impact.
My next step is… to work myself out of a job — because we hopefully won’t need a women entrepreneur strategy in the future.