Nova Scotia Business Inc., the provincial business development agency, has signed off on a payroll rebate program for Gerry Pond’s Mariner Partners worth nearly $1 million over five years.

Mariner is the 270-person firm founded by former NBTel CEO and Aliant Telecom President Pond and a group of business partners. It serves as the umbrella corporation for a basket of other businesses, including Shift Energy and New Brunswick angel group East Valley Ventures.

NSBI, meanwhile, is in the process of being amalgamated with provincial venture capital Crown corporation Innovacorp.

Payroll rebate agreements are the process by which a government subsidizes some of a business’s payroll costs to incentivize job creation.

Mariner expects to hire as many as 60 people in the coming years, with the associated salary and benefit expenses totalling about $15 million.