With Innovation Week taking place in New Brunswick, the provincial government has announced new funding for two leading innovation agencies and new money for the Innovation Voucher Fund.
In the first of two innovation-related announcements, Premier Brian Gallant announced his government will provide $63.6 million to the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation over four years.
In the second announcement, Gallant announced funding of more than $1 million to increase research and development activities across New Brunswick through the Innovation Voucher Fund.
“The first announcement is not trivial as we were successful in renewing our funding for NBIF for another 4 years – $45.6 million,” said NBIF President and CEO Calvin Milbury in an email. “This provides us with a base from which we can grow and keep the momentum going in New Brunswick.”
The government has said it will spend $160 million in innovation over the next four years. This includes an $11.4 million annual expenditure for NBIF. The Health Research Foundation funding of $4.5 million per year is being renewed. Further enhancements to innovation funding will be considered going forward, said the statement.
Provincial governments in Atlantic Canada have made funding announcements for innovation in the last year or two with the goals of developing more startups and increasing research at institutions. Nova Scotia announced $40 million in investment funds for Innovacorp last October, and has committed $25 million for a new venture capital fund in the province. Newfoundland and Labrador initiated the Venture NL Fund two years ago, and Prince Edward Island is considering a fund.
NBIF will invest the funds through its Venture Capital Fund, Startup Investment Fund, and Innovation Voucher Fund in support of business, and through its Research Innovation Fund, Graduate Scholarship Program, and Research Assistantships and Technicians Initiatives in support of publicly funded universities and colleges in the province.
The Health Research Foundation will use the funding to match and leverage federal agencies, national organizations and the private sector to support its three core programs: the health research program; health research initiatives; and strategic investment in health research innovation.
“Investments in health research have been generating exponential returns on investment for the New Brunswick economy, attracting researchers and their families to the province, further attracting and training the next generation of young scientists, and attracting even more independent funding,” said Bruno Battistini, the foundation’s president, CEO and scientific director.
Gallant, who serves as the province’s innovation minister, and NBIF jointly announced the new funding for the Innovation Voucher Fund. Through the foundation’s Innovation Voucher Fund, 23 small and medium-sized businesses received funding and were provided access to scientific talent and research organizations to help them expand their businesses through innovation.
“The vouchers enable businesses from across the province to access specialized expertise and equipment available within our research institutions to help them turn their ideas into reality,” said Milbury.
The fund aims to accelerate innovation within small and medium-sized businesses using the talent, capacity and facilities of New Brunswick’s research organizations.
“We used the innovation voucher to identify unique and insightful visualizations for our first cloud application which we are releasing this year,” Andrea Feunekes, co-founder, president and chief executive officer of Remsoft, said in the statement. “Taking on this high-value project with the foundation helped to de-risk our investment in some new areas for Remsoft, and the speed and simplicity of accessing the voucher was a pleasure.”
The goal is to apply innovation in a way that improves the profitability and competitiveness of those businesses.
[Disclaimer: NBIF is a client of Entrevestor.]