Companies involved in clean technology, life sciences, information technology, and other high-growth sectors may soon have a new source of venture capital.

Premier Darrell Dexter recently announced at the 2010 Power of Green Conference, that Nova Scotia is exploring forming a privately operated venture capital fund, targeting opportunities throughout Atlantic Canada.

"Knowledge-based companies create good jobs, help grow the economy, and are vital to the future prosperity of Nova Scotia and all of Atlantic Canada," said Premier Dexter.

"I intend to talk with my colleagues in the other Atlantic provinces and the federal government to explore establishing this as a regional fund that will provide a better range and number of potential investments and investors."

Premier Dexter said the proposed venture capital fund is an opportunity for regional co-operation for a stronger and more prosperous Atlantic Canada.

Once established, the fund will raise capital from the private sector and other institutional investors, as recommended in Donald Savoie's report about economic development in Nova Scotia.

In 2009, the province committed an additional $30 million over 10 years to the Innovacorp-managed Nova Scotia First Fund. The province is willing to use part of that commitment to start this fund.

"Access to venture capital funding is an essential component of the successful commercialization of innovative products and services by early stage companies," said Robert Orr, co-founder and chair of Ocean Nutrition Canada. "Emerging Nova Scotia companies have always suffered from limited access to venture capital, and I commend the province for acting as the catalyst for this fund."

The fund will invest in knowledge-based companies that have a high potential for growth, and 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 in the early stages, but most do not provide enough capital to help them compete globally. Nova Scotia intends to work with private-sector partners, institutional investors, the Atlantic provinces and the federal government to ensure the highest potential companies can compete.

CLICK HERE for more information about the Nova Scotia First Fund (NSFF).

For more information, contact:

Toby Koffman
Economic and Rural Development

Halifax, Nova Scotia, November 8, 2010