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Ontario unveils $165 million job creation fund

The Ontario government has launched a $165 million venture capital fund to help keep high-paying jobs and local inn...


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November 23, 2007 by Canadian Plastics

The Ontario government has launched a $165 million venture capital fund to help keep high-paying jobs and local innovation from leaving the province.

The fund, intended to boost what the government is calling cutting-edge companies, has been created with assistance from four of the largest institutional investors in Canada. OMERS Administration Corp., RBC Capital Partners, the Business Development Bank of Canada and Manulife Financial Corp. agreed to contribute $75 million to the fund, with the other $90 million coming from the province.

According to the government, the goal is to attract more partners and expand the size of the fund to $270 million, which will be allocated to companies in a variety of sectors. “We believe we are sending a strong signal that we’re open for other institutional investors to join this fund,” said John Wilkinson, Ontario’s Minister of Research and Innovation.

Wilkinson said Ontario has been suffering from a lack of venture capital since the burst of the dot-com bubble, forcing many early-stage companies in the province to seek foreign funding, primarily from the U.S., to support product development. Companies that are dependent on U.S. funding at an early stage are more likely to relocate their headquarters, and jobs, to American cities once their products are commercialized, he continued. “We think those companies should grow through their entire life-cycle here in Ontario. So we decided to act as a catalyst,” he said.