Manitoba

Liberals pledge to help Manitoba businesses get off ground

Manitoba's Liberals are promising to help businesses get off the ground if voters choose to make Dougald Lamont the premier next month.

Party promises to create development bank if elected on Sept. 10

Liberal leader Dougald Lamont pledged Thursday to create a Manitoba business development bank. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

Manitoba's Liberals are promising to help businesses get off the ground if voters choose to make Dougald Lamont the province's premier next month.

Lamont pledged Thursday to create a business development bank that would offer loans to businesses and make equity investments in new enterprises.

"Serious innovation and breakthroughs usually take about 15 to 20 years, and in the private sector it's very hard to find venture capital to invest in that kind of long-term innovation," Lamont said at a campaign announcement at Portage and Main.

"Critically, this is something the province has the power to do on its own. We don't have to go cap in hand to the federal government, to Bay Street or to Wall Street to get this financing."

Lamont said the bank would require $78 million worth of startup funds, about $70 million of which would be available during its first year.

After that, the bank would require about $50 million worth of annual funding until it becomes self-sustaining at some unspecified point.

Alberta, North Dakota and Scotland have similar banks, he said.

Manitobans vote on Sept. 10.

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