Government is taking the next step towards creating a new, private sector-led venture capital fund to help Nova Scotia businesses create new jobs, grow and compete internationally.

"When businesses have better access to capital, it means more jobs for Nova Scotians," said Business Minister Mark Furey. "The creation of this fund will mean stronger communities and more opportunities for young people to live and work here in Nova Scotia."

The Conference Board of Canada looked at venture capital investment in Nova Scotia between 2012 and 2014. It found that venture capital investment here as a percentage of GDP was less than half the Canadian average and 29 per cent of that found in the United States.

"Nova Scotia startups compete globally with companies in markets where private sector venture capital financing is much more available," said Jeff Grammer, partner at Rho Canada Ventures. "Putting additional venture capital on the street will help ensure Nova Scotia's most deserving startups have access to capital they need to scale their businesses."

Government announced an investment of $25 million today, June 29, as part of its commitment to create the fund. Innovacorp will lead the process to find an experienced business leader, or firm, to administer the fund and attract additional private sector investment.

Through a request for submission process the private sector will determine which sectors the fund will focus on and what stage of venture capital it will support.

Government has also established a submission selection committee made up of:
- Rob Barbara, general partner with Build Ventures (Note: Senia Rapisarda, principal with HarbourVest Canada, has replaced Mr. Barbara)
- Charles Baxter, vice-president of investment with Innovacorp
- Dominique Belanger, managing director of funds investment with Business Development Bank of Canada
- Gilles Duruflé, independent consultant
- Bernie Miller, senior executive advisor for the province of Nova Scotia

"Venture capital has strong positive effects on innovation, wealth creation, economic growth and employment," said Mr. Duruflé. "Emerging technology sectors in Nova Scotia's economy are still at a stage that they require government support to ensure adequate access to capital. I commend the government for making this additional financing commitment."

Development of the fund will be in three stages. They are completion of the request for submission process, evaluation of responses and finalization of negotiations and legal agreements. Each stage will take several months to complete, with the fund opening in about a year.

For more information, contact:

Tracy Barron
Nova Scotia Department of Business

Halifax, Nova Scotia, June 29, 2016