Company: Medicard Finance Inc., Toronto, Canada
Company Description: Medicard is Canada’s leading provider of unsecured financing for consumers for medical, dental and veterinary procedures. Founded in 1996 by Ann Kaplan, the Company has offices in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, over 40 employees and is servicing over 5000 medical practices though-out the country.
Nomination Category: Individual Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Best Entrepreneur – Service Businesses - Up to 100 Employees
Nomination Title: Ann Kaplan, Medicard Finance Inc.
Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated entrepreneur during the eligibility period (up to 500 words):
Ann Kaplan founded Medicard in 1996 with the hope that it would become
Canada’s leading provider of financing for medical procedures; thirteen years
later, and over $130,000,000 in loans funded, 5000 physicians across the country
are offering it’s products and services.
The Company was established at the beginning of growth in the demand for
elective surgery, cosmetic dentistry and laser eye procedures. This new era of
change had its beginning at a time when the trend for publicly funded expenditures
for medicine was adversely challenged.
The Canadian market size and potential was not small; in 1995 the privately
funded medical sector in Canada was over 25 billion dollars annually, the
government had announced cutbacks of 5% and the projected increase in the
cosmetic elective medical sector was 35% (per annum). It was at this initial stage
that Ann Kaplan started Medicard; the Company was founded on the premise that
it would finance the growing demand for elective and non-elective medical
procedures, a initiative that banks were not generally making without assets to
lend against, and at a time when the procedure costs would utilize all or more of
what was available on a patients credit cards. Ann Kaplan’s vision was to be the
solution for Canadians that needed or desired a medical procedure and did not
have the funds available to pay for it.
Setting up the Company was an arduous process; with little experience in the
finance sector, Ann had to navigate unchartered territories. Initially she set
up the physicians to offer her financing products, while still meeting with investors and
institutional lenders to fund what would become a multimillion dollar national
business. It was perhaps the strong leadership traits; the drive to succeed and a
little bit of naivety that enabled Ms. Kaplan to attract the initial financing.
The Company grew to cover financing for more than just medical procedures.
Initially, cosmetic enhancement procedures were only a portion of the market that
demanded financing; financing of infertility treatments, podiatry, drug
rehabilitation and less publicly funded procedures (such as MRI’s) were a core part of
Medicard’s business model. By the late 1990’s two other subsidiary loan products
were implemented: “PetCard” to finance veterinary treatments and “DentalCard” to
fund dental procedures.
Over the years, Ms. Kaplan also strategically and innovatively created other
complimentary businesses, such as cosmetic information website; a tax benefit
program (to compliment the loans) and a company that could provide statistics for
the growth of cosmetic enhancement in Canada.
Over the years and through the various paths, Ann has experienced what most
female entrepreneur’s experience: the difficulty of financing and building a
business and the extraordinary challenge that many women face of raising a
family (six children, ages 5 – 20). She has built a Company through market
swings and various economic climates, both dog paddling and swimming – she
has managed to expand her business, further her education, and contribute to the
community - all while wearing a smile and with a small amount of pain (heels).
List the URLs (web addresses) of any online news stories, press releases, or other documents that you would like the judges to see that support your nomination. IMPORTANT: List each URL on a separate line, begin each URL with http://, and enclose each URL in square brackets. For example, [http://www.yourcompany.com/pressrelease.html]:
Provide a brief biography of the nominated entrepreneur (up to 100 words):
Ann Kaplan is a business woman, an author (Best Practices; If You Don’t Laugh,
You’ll Cry), and a mother. She has a MBA, a Corporate Governance Degree, is
completing her PhD and is enrolled for a second doctorate (DBA). Her focus is
Leadership, in particular, “Spirituality in Business”.
Ann has won many awards from The Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year
(E& Y) to The Peak Award of Excellence. She has been recognized in the top 100
women in Canada for four years and Medicard is listed in the top 100 Companies
five times. This year Ann has received recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful
Women in Canada and is nominated for Mompreneur of the Year.
Ann resides Toronto, Ontario with her husband and six children.