The federal government announced on Wednesday that it is funding 16 innovative businesses in Alberta at a cost of $21 million to help them get their products to the market faster.
The funding is coming through the Western Innovation (WINN) Initiative.
“The government of Canada is working hard to help Albertan entrepreneurs turn their ideas into thriving businesses and create good middle class jobs. Through the Innovation and Skills Plan and funding programs such as Western Innovation (WINN) initiative, we are helping to propel innovative entrepreneurs and businesses from start-ups into global success,” said Navdeep Bains, minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada, in a news release.
The government said Western Canada accounts for 38 per cent of Canada’s economy and per capita gross domestic product is 18 per cent higher in the West than across the country.
It said clean technology and advanced agriculture and food production are major growth industries in the West and Western Canada’s 427,000 small and medium-sized businesses employ over 3.4 million people.
“The Western Innovation (WINN) Initiative is a five-year federal initiative that offers repayable contributions for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with operations in Western Canada, in order to help move their new and innovative technologies from the later stages of research and development to the marketplace,” said the government news release.
“WINN promotes the development and diversification of the western Canadian economy by providing financial support to qualified SMEs to help them bring innovative products, processes, and services to market in Western Canada and by stimulating greater private sector investment in western Canadian commercialization activities.”
The government said that 570 jobs will be created through the initiative.
“Western Canada has the potential to help Canadian innovators grow and position the country as a global centre of excellence by leveraging regional strengths. To seize such opportunities for economic growth, the federal government and industry are working hard to help Western Canadian entrepreneurs overcome the challenges of bringing game-changing innovation to market,” said the government.
A list of all the companies being funded can be found here.
Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald, including 12 years as a senior business writer.