Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

New fund to get startups to market

  • Print

THE federal government chose the lobby of the initial SmartPark building at the University of Manitoba to launch a $100-million fund to help Western Canadian businesses bring innovative new technologies to market.

Called the Western Innovation (WINN) Initiative, it will make interest-free loans available to help companies bridge the final stage of commercialization of a product that's just about ready for market.

Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification Michelle Rempel, a former employee of the U of M technology transfer office, said she met with more than 150 stakeholders in the innovation sector across Western Canada in the past two months and got a similar message from everyone.

"When we asked people how can we overcome the barriers that exist, I heard over and over again that small and medium-sized business owners need better access to risk capital," she said.

A broad spectrum of the Winnipeg innovation community was on hand for the announcement and it was widely heralded as a welcome addition.

The money will be in the form of repayable loans on a five-year term targeted at innovative new technologies that are no more than three years away from being ready for market.

"It's not going to be the panacea, but it will be good," said Jan Lederman, the executive director of Innovate Manitoba. "It's money that's not there now. Many small businesses don't need all that much to get them over the top."

Chris Johnson, one of the founders of the entrepreneurial organization called Ramp-Up Manitoba, was enthusiastic about the new fund. He is a driving force behind at least three different digital-technology businesses that will be applying for the loans.

He said the ability for a startup to get at as much debt financing as possible -- before real sales begin and the valuation of a company goes up dramatically -- is critical for any entrepreneur. That kind of funding will also help leverage access to funding from other sources.

"You need money to get money," Johnson said. "De-risking is critical."

Noah Decter-Jackson, CEO of Complex Games Inc., said, "The biggest challenge for emerging businesses is the funding gap just prior to commercialization. WINN can help to bridge that gap."

Rempel said the plan is to have two intakes per year, the first one starting Nov. 9 to Dec. 8. To be eligible for the loans of up to $3.5 million, a company has to be based in Western Canada, in business for at least a year and have fewer than 500 employees.

martin.cash@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 26, 2013 B6

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Doug Speirs trains for role in Nutcracker

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project. Baby peregrine falcons. 21 days old. Three baby falcons. Born on ledge on roof of Radisson hotel on Portage Avenue. Project Coordinator Tracy Maconachie said that these are third generation falcons to call the hotel home. Maconachie banded the legs of the birds for future identification as seen on this adult bird swooping just metres above. June 16, 2004.
  • JJOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-Postcard  Day-Horror frost and fog created a most beautiful setting at Assiniboine Park Thursday morning in WInnipeg- Enviroent Canada says the fog will lifet this morning and will see a high of -7C-  JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- Feb 18, 2010

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What's your take on the Jets so far this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google