Province plans to invest in venture capital
The Newfoundland and Labrador government plans to put money towards two venture funds to support innovative start-up businesses.
The plans were revealed on Thursday as part of Budget 2014.
The provincial government will team up with the other Atlantic provinces in the Build Ventures Fund. Ten million dollars will be committed to the $60-million fund over the next five years.
The province will also establish the new Venture Newfoundland and Labrador Fund to support start-up businesses and to complement the Build Ventures Fund. The Tories promised that more details would be announced "in the very near future."
Innovation, Business and Rural Development Minister Terry French said on Thursday that the Build Ventures Fund will be privately managed.
"Government [doesn't] usually pick winners, and that's exactly what we're doing — we're giving it to a venture capital fund, and let them pick the winners. And not only do they pick the winners from an investment piece, but they also give advice," he said.
"There will be no political interference. The fund manager will have no political interference on... what companies they put money into."
There will be no political interference. The fund manager will have no political interference on... what companies they put money into.- Terry French, minister of Innovation, Business and Rural Development
While French said four provinces will have money invested in this fund, and therefore businesses from each province will be competing for money, he's confident that local companies will see a piece of the pie.
"We have a number of companies right now in this province who are looking for venture capital... plus, we're creating the [Venture Newfoundland and Labrador] Fund which will feed into that as well. So we believe, if we want to play in the big leagues, we have to play in the big leagues," he said.
"We believe we have companies in this province who can compete with anyone in the country."
French said that in research he has read, only about 20 per cent of companies that get such an investment actually succeed. But he said it's worth the money.
"It's high-risk stuff. That's the nature of venture capital," he said.
Government has said that after the process has been finalized, the investments will be disclosed publicly.