Close this search box.

Table of Contents

Business Development Company (BDC): Definition and How to Invest


A Business Development Company (BDC) is a type of public company that provides funding to small and mid-sized businesses, typically through debt or equity investments. They are designed to assist these businesses to grow when traditional banks might not lend to them. Investing in a BDC operates similarly to investing in a stock or other publicly traded security, where investors can buy shares through a broker.


The phonetics for the keyword “Business Development Company (BDC): Definition and How to Invest” are as follows:- Business: /ˈbɪznɪs/- Development: /dɪˈvɛləpmənt/- Company: /ˈkʌmp(ə)ni/- BDC: /ˌbiːˌdiːˈsiː/- Definition: /ˌdɛfɪˈnɪʃ(ə)n/- And: /ænd/- How: /haʊ/- To: /tuː/- Invest: /ɪnˈvɛst/

Key Takeaways

  1. Definition: A Business Development Company (BDC) is a structure of investment created by Congress in 1980, which allows small and medium-sized businesses to access funds. BDCs are publicly traded companies that invest in and provide assistance to private companies, intending to help them grow and develop.
  2. Investing: One can invest in a BDC through purchasing shares on the open market, just like investing in a regular stock. BDCs present a high-dividend investment option as they are required by law to distribute at least 90% of their profits to shareholders in the form of dividends.
  3. Risks: While BDCs provide an opportunity for high yields, they also come with certain risks. These include credit risk (the possibility that companies in a BDC’s portfolio may fail), market risk (the fluctuation of share prices), and liquidity risk (difficulty in buying/selling shares quickly without impacting the market price). Investors need to consider their risk tolerance before investing in BDCs.


Business Development Companies (BDCs) are essential as they offer investors a means of participating in small to mid-size private company investments. This typically comprises organizations that are not large enough to raise capital from larger public corporations or through public offerings. By investing in a BDC, investors can potentially benefit from the company’s growth and share in the profits without directly participating in the market. Additionally, BDCs are required by law to distribute at least 90% of their profits among shareholders, providing a consistent income flow. Therefore, understanding BDCs and how to invest in them can offer a viable investment strategy for both individual and institutional investors seeking diversification, income, and potential for growth in an underserved part of the market.


A Business Development Company (BDC) is a type of investment vehicle that is primarily used for the purpose of investing in small and mid-sized businesses. BDCs contribute significantly to the overall growth of these businesses as they provide necessary capital for expansion, development, and restructuring efforts. This type of company plays a crucial role in the economy because they facilitate the growth of businesses that might otherwise struggle to secure financing from traditional lending institutions. They often invest in fledgling or distressed companies, offering not only funds but also valuable guidance and expertise to support business trajectories.Investing in a BDC can be an attractive venture for individuals looking for income-producing securities. It can provide a steady stream of return in the form of dividends, as a significant portion of its taxable income is distributed to shareholders. Besides, BDC shares are publicly traded on major stock exchanges making them readily available for mainstream investors. However, like other forms of investments, investing in BDCs is not without risk considering they often invest in less mature, more unstable companies. As such, it is important for prospective investors to carry out thorough due diligence before entering into such commitments.


Business Development Companies (BDCs) are U.S.-based corporations that invest in or lend capital to small and medium-sized companies. BDCs operate similarly to Venture Capital (VC) firms but where a VC firm raises capital privately, BDC’s shares are publicly traded on the stock exchange. 1. Ares Capital Corporation (ARCC): It is a well-known BDC that’s been operational since 2004 and publicly listed on the NASDAQ. They typically make investments ranging from $20 million to $200 million in companies across various sectors like healthcare, energy, technology, and more. Ares has a widespread, diversified portfolio of investments which makes it less risky for investors. 2. Hercules Capital Inc (HTGC): It is another leading BDC listed on the NYSE. Hercules specializes in providing venture debt in the form of senior secured loans to venture capital-backed companies in technology-related markets including technology, life science, and renewable and sustainable energy. 3. Main Street Capital Corporation (MAIN): Operating since 2007, MAIN is a Houston-based BDC also listed on the NYSE. Main Street specializes in providing long-term debt and equity capital to lower middle market companies and debt capital to middle markets companies. They have a diversified portfolio with investments across 48 states and in multiple industries.Investing in BDCs can be a good way to earn higher dividends than regular stocks, as BDCs distribute upwards of 90% of their income to shareholders as a regulatory requirement. However, as with any investment, BDCs come with their own risks, including below-average stock growth and heavy reliance on lending markets. It’s advisable to consult with a financial advisor or conduct in-depth research to understand the nature and advantages of the particular BDC before investing.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Business Development Company (BDC)?

A Business Development Company (BDC) is a type of closed-end fund that is created to help grow small and mid-sized companies in the initial stages of their development. BDCs invest in these companies by providing debt capital, equity capital, or a combination of both.

How does a BDC operate?

BDCs operate by raising funds from public and private investors, and then use those funds to invest in small to mid-size businesses. The investments are usually made in the form of loans or equity financing.

How can I invest in a Business Development Company (BDC)?

BDCs are public companies, so their shares are listed on stock exchanges. You can invest in a BDC by buying its shares through a broker. Some BDCs also have minimum investment requirements.

What are the advantages of investing in a BDC?

BDCs offer several advantages, such as high dividend yield and the opportunity to invest in private companies that are not usually accessible to individual investors. BDCs are also regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), providing an additional level of investor protection.

What are the risks of investing in a BDC?

Investing in BDCs also involves risks. These include financial risks associated with the small to mid-sized businesses they invest in, market risk, and interest rate risk. BDCs may also use leverage, which can increase both potential returns and risks.

What factors should I consider before investing in a BDC?

When considering investing in a BDC, you should look at its track record, the experience of the management team, the nature of its underlying investments, dividend yield, and the level of risk involved. It’s also recommended to consult with a financial advisor.

Are BDCs taxable?

Yes, BDCs are typically structured as regulated investment companies (RICs) for tax purposes. They are required to distribute at least 90% of their taxable income to shareholders as dividends. These dividends are usually taxable to the shareholder.

Related Finance Terms

  • Capital Investment: The amount of money that a BDC uses to fund small or mid-sized businesses in exchange for operational assistance and financial returns.
  • Portfolio Diversification: The range of different businesses and industries BDCs invest in to diversify risk and increase the potential for returns.
  • Dividends: The profit distribution that BDC shareholders get from the investments and operations of the company.
  • Risk Management: Practices adopted by BDCs to balance investments and manage potential financial loss.
  • Regulated Investment Company (RIC): The status of a BDC according to IRS code that frees them from corporate income tax, provided they distribute at least 90% of taxable income as dividends to shareholders.

Sources for More Information

About Our Editorial Process

At Due, we are dedicated to providing simple money and retirement advice that can make a big impact in your life. Our team closely follows market shifts and deeply understands how to build REAL wealth. All of our articles undergo thorough editing and review by financial experts, ensuring you get reliable and credible money advice.

We partner with leading publications, such as Nasdaq, The Globe and Mail, Entrepreneur, and more, to provide insights on retirement, current markets, and more.

We also host a financial glossary of over 7000 money/investing terms to help you learn more about how to take control of your finances.

View our editorial process

About Our Journalists

Our journalists are not just trusted, certified financial advisers. They are experienced and leading influencers in the financial realm, trusted by millions to provide advice about money. We handpick the best of the best, so you get advice from real experts. Our goal is to educate and inform, NOT to be a ‘stock-picker’ or ‘market-caller.’ 

Why listen to what we have to say?

While Due does not know how to predict the market in the short-term, our team of experts DOES know how you can make smart financial decisions to plan for retirement in the long-term.

View our expert review board

About Due

Due makes it easier to retire on your terms. We give you a realistic view on exactly where you’re at financially so when you retire you know how much money you’ll get each month. Get started today.

Due Fact-Checking Standards and Processes

To ensure we’re putting out the highest content standards, we sought out the help of certified financial experts and accredited individuals to verify our advice. We also rely on them for the most up to date information and data to make sure our in-depth research has the facts right, for today… Not yesterday. Our financial expert review board allows our readers to not only trust the information they are reading but to act on it as well. Most of our authors are CFP (Certified Financial Planners) or CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) certified and all have college degrees. Learn more about annuities, retirement advice and take the correct steps towards financial freedom and knowing exactly where you stand today. Learn everything about our top-notch financial expert reviews below… Learn More