Regional co-operation in Atlantic Canada took another step forward today, June 5, as New Brunswick joined Nova Scotia in a regional venture capital fund to support emerging companies in the region.

New Brunswick will contribute $15 million to fund, created by Nova Scotia and announced in April. Companies involved in clean technology, life sciences, information technology and other high-growth sectors will be able to access the fund.

"Knowledge-based companies create good jobs, help grow the economy, and are vital to the future prosperity of all of Atlantic Canada," said Premier Darrell Dexter. "Premier David Alward recognizes this, and I look forward to working with him to expand the fund and bring on other partners."

Nova Scotia committed $15 million in the 2011-12 budget to create a new, privately operated, regional venture capital fund, targeting opportunities throughout Atlantic Canada. New Brunswick is the first province to add to Nova Scotia's contribution to the fund.

"Regional co-operation is a leading priority for our government, and it is vital to addressing the lack of venture capital available to our entrepreneurs today," said Premier Alward.

"By working with Nova Scotia and other partners we can provide the strategic support needed to create new success stories here in Atlantic Canada."

Premier Dexter discussed expanding the fund with federal colleagues in Ottawa last week, and with Atlantic premiers last month.

Early stage venture capital funding is essential to successfully commercialize innovative products and services. Emerging Nova Scotia companies have suffered from limited access to venture capital in the past.

The fund will invest in high potential companies that do not yet have the cash flow to secure financing from traditional lenders.

There are several provincial and federal programs to help these types of companies, but most do not provide enough capital for them to compete globally.

Nova Scotia and New Brunswick will continue to work with private-sector partners, institutional investors and the federal government to ensure the companies with the most potential can compete.

For more information, contact:

Melissa MacKinnon
Premier's Office
Cell: 902.240.9077
MACKINNM@GOV.NS.CA

Jesse Robichaud
Office of the Premier of New Brunswick
Cell: 506.453.2144
JESSE.ROBICHAUD@GNB.CA

Halifax, Nova Scotia, June 5, 2011