The New Brunswick government is increasing its five-year funding for the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation by about 20 percent in an effort to further boost innovation in the province.

Premier Brian Gallant announced Wednesday that his government would increase funding for the organization by $10 million over five years. The money will be used to expand the foundation’s role in supporting research and development and venture investments.

“To grow our economy, we must foster innovation so New Brunswick businesses can compete on an international stage,” Gallant, who is also the minister responsible for innovation, said in a release. “To strengthen education and healthcare in New Brunswick, we must also foster innovation so we can deliver these vital services and opportunities to New Brunswickers.”

In May, Gallant announced $45.6 million in funding for NBIF over four years. That works out to $11.4 million per year and allowed NBIF to devote $1 million annually to its Innovation Voucher Fund, which helps businesses work with researchers to develop new products.

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With Gallant’s announcement on Wednesday, the NBIF funding is closer to $13.4 million a year, though Milbury said in an email that actual spending in 2017-18 will be closer to $14 million.

“We continue to work to secure additional funding from GNB and other sources to ensure we can meet demand and realize our five-year vision for NBIF,” he said.

NBIF is a private, not-for-profit corporation that supports start-up businesses in New Brunswick and fosters research and development. It promotes innovation in the province through venture capital investments and through its Research Innovation Fund in support of publicly funded universities and colleges in the province.

In venture capital, the foundation invests funds through its Venture Capital Fund for scaling companies, and its Startup Investment Fund in support of early-stage businesses.

According to the NBIF’s 2016-17 annual report, the organization invested in 29 different companies in the 12 months to March 31, 2017. The two funds invested a total of $4.6 million, whereas in the 2016 fiscal year, NBIF had invested a total of $3.8 million in 22 companies.

“This additional investment enables the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation to continue to help even more startups, entrepreneurs and researchers deliver meaningful impact on New Brunswick,” said Milbury in the statement. “Continued investment in innovation is essential to supporting the province’s economic growth and well-being.”

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