Archived — Southern Ontario Businesses Will Have Greater Access to Venture Capital Money Through a New Investment from FedDev Ontario

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For Immediate Release
September 1, 2009

LONDON, ON – Small and medium-sized enterprises in southern Ontario will have greater access to venture capital money, thanks to an new investment announced today by the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).

"This investment will give new and growing businesses the opportunity to expand and create jobs," said Minister of State Goodyear. "As Canada emerges from the global recession, providing firms with more access to venture capital money will also help lead to greater prosperity in southern Ontario."

"Canada needs entrepreneurs who can turn new ideas and technology into attractive products and successful companies," said Jacques Simoneau, Executive Vice President, Investments, at the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). "The funding that is being made available today by the Government of Canada will strengthen the BDC's efforts to help deserving Canadian high-tech ventures in southern Ontario in the current economy."

FedDev Ontario will provide $50 million to the BDC, including $35 million in capital to place direct investments in early-stage firms in southern Ontario and $15 million to invest in Ontario-based venture capital funds focused on Ontario-based opportunities.

As part of its decision-making process, the BDC will collaborate with the Ontario Venture Capital Fund, which is a partnership between the Ontario government, the BDC, the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System Capital Partners, RBC Capital Partners, Manulife Financial, and TD Bank Financial Group and is managed by TD Capital Private Equity Investors.

The BDC's venture capital investments support the development of high-potential Canadian technology companies and help cultivate them into globally focused, growth-oriented companies. The BDC's specialized equity investments cover every stage of a company's development cycle, from pre-seed through expansion. Investments target multiple sectors: Information and Communication Technologies (IT and Telecommunications), Life Sciences (Drug Discovery and Medical Technologies), and Energy (Environment, Electronics and Materials).

The BDC is Canada's business development bank. From more than 100 offices across the country, the BDC promotes entrepreneurship by providing highly tailored financing, venture capital and consulting services to entrepreneurs. To learn more, please visit the BDC website.


Backgrounder
Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

In Canada's Economic Action Plan, the Government of Canada committed to providing short-term stimulus to communities hard-hit by the recession while delivering long-term funding designed to promote economic growth, job creation and innovation. Budget 2009 provided $1 billion over five years for a new economic development agency for southern Ontario.

On August 13, 2009, Prime Minister Stephen Harper formally launched the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario). This new agency is charged with delivering federal government economic development programs tailored to the specific priorities of workers, businesses and communities in southern Ontario.

The Prime Minister announced that the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology) (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario) has assumed responsibility for the Agency and that B.A.(Bruce) Archibald is serving as its first President.

In its first year of operation, FedDev Ontario will focus on putting economic development programs into action. The Agency will assess immediate opportunities and needs, then bridge into broader program initiatives once it is fully operational.

FedDev Ontario and Industry Canada will work with community stakeholders to identify and support projects that address current economic challenges.

The Agency will initially use existing programs and partnerships to expedite the provision of funds. This will start money flowing immediately into southern Ontario communities and businesses.

Funding in 2009–10 will be approximately $206 million, including operating costs, focused on three priority areas: economic development, diversification and community development.

The Southern Ontario Development Program has been established to promote economic development, economic diversification and job creation. As a core program, it will deliver close to $100 million in funding over 2009–10.

FedDev Ontario will help southern Ontario communities diversify their local economies and expand into a wider range of value-added and technology-driven products and services. It will provide the tools for its partners in the region to build on their strengths, positioning southern Ontario to succeed in the knowledge-based economy.


PROGRAMS TO BE ADMINISTERED BY FEDDEV ONTARIO

Southern Ontario programs to be administered by, or in conjunction with, FedDev Ontario include:

Community Adjustment Fund in Ontario

The Community Adjustment Fund (CAF) is a short-term economic stimulus for communities impacted by the global recession. Part of Canada's Economic Action Plan, the fund supports projects that create jobs and maintain employment in and around the communities that have been most severely affected by the economic downturn. Funding is available for eligible projects that can be completed before March 31, 2010. Applications for 2010–11 CAF project funds will be accepted by FedDev Ontario later this year.

National Research Council - Industrial Research Assistance Program

National Research Council Canada's Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) stimulates wealth creation for Canada through technological innovation. It provides financial and technological assistance to small and medium-sized enterprises, targeting those engaged in the research, development, adaptation, adoption, or commercialization of innovative products, services or processes.

NRC-IRAP already has $67.3 million in funds available, and will receive an additional $27.5 million to further build the innovative capacities of southern Ontario's small and medium-sized enterprises.

Community Futures Program

Ontario's Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) will receive an additional $30 million from the Community Adjustment Fund in 2009–10. The Community Futures Program assists rural and northern communities to strengthen and diversify their economies.

The Program is implemented through CFDCs located in communities across the province, including 37 in rural southern Ontario. Small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as non-profit organizations, can receive repayable financing and important support services.

Business Development Bank of Canada

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will invest a total of $50 million in southern Ontario through direct investments in firms and through investments in venture capital funds. These investments support the development of high-potential Canadian technology companies and will help develop a high-performing, sustainable venture capital industry in the region.


Backgrounder
Business Development Bank of Canada

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) aims to accelerate the success of entrepreneurs and help develop Canadian businesses by providing financing, venture capital and consulting services with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The BDC does not offer grants or subsidies; rather, it seeks to earn a return from the business financing it provides while extending financing into market niches that would not otherwise be served.

The BDC is mandated to be a complementary lender in the market, offering loans and investments that supplement or complete services already available from commercial financial institutions. Its financial activities include secured and unsecured loans; subordinate financing, which incorporates elements of debt and equity financing; direct and indirect venture capital investments with a focus on early-stage high-technology ventures; and customized business consulting services.

The BDC's role is magnified during economic slowdowns. Since the start of the credit crisis, the BDC has introduced a number of remedial measures. It has:

  • increased overall financing activity;
  • extended repayment terms on new authorizations;
  • offered postponement of capital repayment;
  • increased support to manufacturers and dedicated a team to help Ontario auto parts manufacturers in particular;
  • introduced the Operating Line of Credit Guarantee;
  • seen a significant increase in referrals from financial institutions; and
  • launched a new working capital loan for expansion projects abroad.

In fiscal 2008–09, the BDC authorized $3.1 billion in new loans. It has also conducted approximately $1.3 billion in activity under the Business Credit Availability Program, as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan.

The BDC holds a loan portfolio of about $11 billion. Broken down by industry sector, this translates into 30.4 percent of its loans for the manufacturing sector, 21 percent for wholesale and retail trade, 12.5 percent for tourism, 7 percent for construction, 5.1 percent for transportation and storage, 7.4 percent for commercial properties, 4.5 percent for business services, and 12.1 percent for other industries.

The BDC has both a physical and a virtual pan-Canadian presence, serving over 28 000 Canadian entrepreneurs through 100 branches in all regions of the country. It provides advice and financing to entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds, venture capital for start-ups, and working capital to help small exporters bridge the gap between the Canadian market in which they operate and their targeted international market. The BDC is well positioned to help its clients and will continue to support Canadian entrepreneurs as a whole.

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