As part of Budget 2022’s key priority areas to build the economy, the Manitoba government is contributing an initial $50 million to establish the Venture Capital Fund (VCF), Premier Heather Stefanson and Economic Development, Investment and Trade Minister Cliff Cullen announced today.
“Manitoba’s business leaders are the engine of our economy, the creators of jobs and prosperity for so many Manitobans,” said Stefanson. “They have told us access to capital is critical for the development and expansion of Manitoba businesses. As committed to in the speech from the throne, this new fund will lead to the creation of entrepreneur-led businesses that will fuel provincewide economic growth to support the economies in rural, urban and Northern Manitoba.”
In February 2021, after a review of successful venture capital programs in other provinces, the Economic Development Board recommended the creation of an independent, professionally managed fund. The VCF will partner with private investment capital to invest government’s seed capital in Manitoba-focused investment funds, the premier added.
The fund will invest in several independently managed funds that will lever the government capital with private sector capital, increasing the amounts available to be invested in Manitoba companies.
The premier noted access to capital at every stage of business development is vital for the province’s sustained economic growth and this investment will ensure a greater breadth of capital is available in Manitoba.
Additionally, the Small Business Venture Capital Tax Credit, which was scheduled to expire later this year, is being made permanent. This tax credit provides non-refundable Manitoba tax credit of up to 45 per cent to individuals and corporations who acquire equity capital in eligible Manitoba enterprises, Stefanson noted.
“Today’s announcement begins the process to level the playing field and leverage the entrepreneurial spirit in Manitoba to grow our economy for better employment and to pay for better public services,” said Bram Strain, president and CEO, Business Council of Manitoba. “Further, the expansion of the small business tax credit to include venture capital funds allows Manitobans to invest in our province and share in the growth and prosperity.”
The government will enter into an agreement with Manitoba Technology Accelerator (MTA) to manage the funding until the VCF is operational later this year. As part of this agreement, MTA will establish a steering committee with representation from industry, community and the Manitoba government, and will act as the VCF’s interim management and establish the initial governance of the fund.
“This announcement is very exciting and marks the end of the decade’s long venture capital drought in Manitoba,” said Marshall Ring, CEO, MTA. “Building a successful business is challenging and is often described as ‘climbing the ladder of success.’ This new venture capital fund will restore some of the crucial ‘capital’ rungs of that ladder that have been missing in Manitoba.”
The VCF is expected to be operational later this year, at which point MTA will turn over the funding to VCF according to the terms to be established in the agreement.
“Our government is taking concrete actions to make Manitoba a more attractive place for new businesses to start, for existing businesses to grow and for foreign businesses to invest,” said Cullen. “The establishment of the VCF is a critical component to connect Manitoba-focused businesses with the access to capital they need to pursue their dreams and build their businesses in Manitoba.”
For more information on other tools already in place to support businesses in Manitoba, visit: https://gov.mb.ca/jec/busdev/financial.
News Source: Manitoba government
April 29, 2022