$11.3M investment will connect New Brunswick to national dark-fibre research network

The Government of New Brunswick, CANARIE and F6 Networks are joining forces to create a new high-speed dark-fibre network that will connect researchers in the northern part of the province to existing provincial and national digital networks.

The new fibre network, set to launch by March 31, 2015, is supported by investments of $4 million from the Province’s Northern New Brunswick Economic Development and Innovation Fund and the Miramichi Regional Economic Development and Innovation Fund, as well as $7.3 million from CANARIE.

CANARIE is a non-profit corporation established in 1993 with major investments from the federal government to create a national ultra-high-speed backbone network connecting Canadian researchers to their colleagues around the world. CANARIE’s investment in the New Brunswick network project comes as part of its mandate to build a national 100G fibre optic network between Victoria, BC and Halifax, NS.

F6 Networks, Atlantic Canada’s largest open access dark-fibre network, is charged with establishing the network in northern New Brunswick. Along with connecting local research institutions, the network will also create a new hub for information and communications technology (ICT) companies and data centres in the region.

Take advantage of CANARIE’s DAIR program for businesses

Along with connecting research institutions across the country through its high-speed fibre network, CANARIE also leverages its resources to provide services to entrepreneurs through its Digital Accelerator for Innovation and Research (DAIR) program.

The program offers entrepreneurs in the high-tech sector access to free cloud-based computing and storage resources to help them accelerate product development cycles and gain a competitive edge. In particular, resources offered through the DAIR program can be used to develop, test and demonstrate products, such as mobile applications, multimedia projects, and IT security systems.

Under the program, each entrepreneur can access up to four high-performance virtual servers without any cost. This provides approximate minimum annual savings of $2100 to $2800 USD over commercial cloud computing services.

Application times under the program are very short – services commence within 3 to 5 days of applications being approved by CANARIE.

More information on the DAIR program and sources of funding for businesses are available through The Funding Portal’s Search Widget.

The Funding Portal welcomes new Chief Commercial Officer

The Funding Portal is pleased to announce the appointment of Rob Soja to Chief Commercial Officer. Formerly Vice President, Brookfield RPS, Rob will head the Portal’s national sales team.

TheFundingPortal.com improves business access to the $30B annual government incentives market, and to private financing, and produces unique data and analytics on incentives financing.

The Funding Portal is a private venture corporation founded by CEO Teri Kirk and backed by Primary Capital and other leading Canadian tech investors.

FundingSources – Must Reads

This week’s Must Reads from Funding Agencies

  • BDC: BDC published its monthly Economic Letter.
  • CME: The SMART Prosperity Now 2012/2013 program has now wrapped up and all funded recipients have completed their projects.
  • New Brunswick: The provincial government, CANARIE, and F6 Networks are investing in a new high-speed, dark-fibre network that will connect northern New Brunswick to the provincial and national research and education networks. The province is providing $4 million, through the Northern New Brunswick Economic Development and Innovation Fund and the Miramichi Regional Economic Development and Innovation Fund, to F6 Networks to establish the network by March 31, 2015.
  • Ontario: The Province launched the new Strategic Community Entrepreneurship Projects (SCEP) program. The fund will provide grants to not-for-profit organizations to help 15-29 year-olds from high-needs communities and vulnerable populations to start a business.
  • PEI: The Province intends to launch a new Forest Investment program will encourage woodlot owners to get more involved in forest management.

FundingAwards – Who got Funded – Week of April 7

Overall Disbursements:  Funding from federal and provincial governments grows to $42.6M this week, compared to $40.3M last week.

Top Sector: Tech is the top sector this week, attracting $12.2M, almost 30% of the total amount disbursed.

Top Region: Ontario is the top sector for the third week in a row, receiving almost 55% of the total amount disbursed.

Top Recipients in Ontario: The top beneficiaries of federal and provincial stimulus funding by sector are:

  • Business: Olymel receives $1.5 million from the provincial Eastern Ontario Development Fund to upgrade and expand its Cornwall plant.
  • Hospitals, Universities & Research Centres: The Advanced Medical Research Institute of Canada (AMRIC) and Health Sciences North receive $5 million from the provincial Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) to open a new health research facility.
  • Charities, Non-Profits & Public Sector: The Seven Generations Education Institute receives $5.2 million from federal Aboriginal Labour Market Programs to provide training and work experience to 315 Aboriginal participants involved in the mining sector.
Funding Disbursed by Industry Sector:
Funding Disbursed by Province:
Active Funding Programs this Week:
  • Business Development Program
  • Canada Arts Presentation Fund
  • Celebrate Ontario 2014
  • Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund (CIIF)
  • County of Inverness/ Port Hood & Area Development Society
  • Creative Spaces
  • Eastern Ontario Development Fund
  • Economic Development & Innovation Fund
  • Global Business Accelerator Program
  • Innovative Communities Fund
  • Job Creation Partnership program
  • Miramichi Regional Economic Development & Innovation Fund
  • Museums Assistance Program
  • Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC)
  • One-time Community Crime Prevention & Reduction Investment Program
  • Participant Funding Program
  • Quebec Economic Development Program
  • Skills & Partnership Fund
  • Small Business Development Program
  • Youth Gang Prevention Fund

QP Briefing: Sousa has unlikely ally in bid for more business invesment

By John Valorzi

There’s not much the Fraser Institute and Finance Minister Charles Sousa see eye to eye on when it comes to the economy.

But in a report Monday, the right-leaning Vancouver think tank hits on something Sousa has been harping on since he took over the key cabinet post 14 months ago: How to get companies to invest more and create jobs.

The Fraser report says Ontario businesses saw their share of  business investment fall to 31 per cent of the national average in 2012,  from 40 per cent in 1990.  And, since the Liberals took power in 2003, Ontario’s average annual growth of investment in buildings, machinery and equipment was 3 per cent, compared with 5.3 per cent for the rest of Canada.

That means Ontario companies are not building enough plants, adopting new technology or making other capital expansions that create jobs.

A lot of that is related to the restructuring of the North American auto sector, the decline in manufacturing, the state of Ontario’s  branch-plant industrial structure and how the high dollar in recent years has squeezed exports to the American market.

Despite the causes, the think tank report warns that lagging business investment could do lasting harm to the economy if it’s not reversed.

“This decline in productive investment suggests that in the future there will be growing economic productivity problems,” warns Lakehead University economistLivio Di Matteo, who co-authored the report.

Sousa has been noting for months that companies are sitting on piles of cash but they’re not reinvesting it. That’s why the minority Liberals have been touting partnerships with business, using grants and other subsidies to leverage bigger corporate spending in advanced manufacturing, food processing, IT and other sectors.

Sousa’s budget, expected May 1 or the following week is expected to contain a $2.5 billion jobs and prosperity fund to support job creation in the economy and get Corporate Ontario investing again.

In his 2013 economic update last November, Sousa challenged companies to invest more and noted provincial companies lagged the  U.S. and the rest of Canada in business investment as a share of GDP.

“Strong business investment matters critically for labour productivity growth, both because it increases the amount of capital per worker but more importantly because it brings new technology to the workplace,” the economic statement said.  “New technologies spur innovation, efficiency gains, higher output and increased competitiveness.”

The coming budget is expected to contain a number of moves to  encourage more business investment. The province wants to take the lead with its own assets, with a plan to tally capital investments at Crown companies, such as Ontario Power Generation, Hydro One, the LCBO and Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.

Sousa’s officials have also been studying replacing existing research and development tax credits with incentives to reward companies who do more R and D. Most U.S. states provide similar measures to reward incremental research spending.

The Finance Ministry has also been examining so-called “Pay or Play” tax incentives for business.

These include a special business tax that could be eliminated or reduced if a company invests in equipment, or a payroll tax that could be cut or wiped out if  business puts its money into training programs.

Quebec, France and many U.S. states have such a system to encourage training.

In its study, Can Canada Prosper without a Prosperous Ontario?,1 the Fraser Institute said the province’s weak economy is hurting the rest of Canada.

“Ontario’s poor record on GDP growth, employment and business investment reflects a damaged provincial economy that’s dragging down the national economy,” said Di Matteo, a senior fellow at the think tank.

Di Matteo recommends the government improve tax and regulatory competitiveness, boost its capital investment, reform energy and industrial policies, and develop forestry and mineral resources.

Many of these policies are part of the minority Liberals plan to boost transit and infrastructure spending in a budget that could contain up to $5.7 billion in new spending.

Subscribe to a free two-week trial of Queen’s Park Briefing to access daily articles, including:

New Digital Canada 150 plan outlines funding for SMEs

On Friday, the federal government unveiled Digital Canada 150, a set of 39 initiatives to help advance the country’s digital future. Several of these new initiatives aim to help SMEs adopt digital technology, as well as to improve access to venture capital financing in the ICT sector. Read on to learn what funds are available to your business.

Key Digital Canada 150 initiatives for businesses:

  1. The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will allocate an additional $200 million to provide financing to SMEs pursuing the adoption of digital technologies.
    Through its Technology Financing solutions, BDC helps SMEs invest in hardware (such as computers and servers), software (such as customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning applications), and consulting services (such as IT planning, online sales and Internet marketing).
    Financing is delivered in two streams: Small Business Loans of less than $50,000 with flexible repayment terms, and larger loans which offer longer amortization periods and capital payment holidays.
  2. BDC Venture Capital will invest an additional $300 million in companies in the information and communications technologies (ICT) sector.
    BDC Venture Capital currently has a portfolio of more than $1 billion in past and planned investments in the Canadian IT, health, energy and cleantech sectors. Its IT fund focuses on businesses in the enterprise, Internet and mobile sectors.
    Previous investments include Radian6, which was acquired by Salesforce, Opalis, which was acquired by Microsoft, and Q1 Labs, which was acquired by IBM.
  3. The Government will provide an additional $40 million to support up to 3,000 internships in high-demand fields, and another $15 million a year for internships within SMEs.
    The federal government currently provides funding for internships under several programs, including the Science and Technology Internship Program at Natural Resources Canada, the Youth Internships program at FedNor, the Environmental Youth Corps program at Eco Canada, the Young Canada Works in Both Official Languages program at Canadian Heritage, the Science Horizons Youth Internship Program at Environment Canada, and the Connect Canada Internships program which supports advanced R&D projects.
  4. The Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program (CAIP) will receive an additional $100 million to support the country’s most promising business accelerators and incubators.
    First announced under the federal Venture Capital Action Plan, the National Research Council of Canada’s Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program provides funding to high-potential business accelerators and incubators across the country. Grants delivered through the program are targeted at supporting service offerings for early-stage companies and entrepreneurs.

Visit The Funding Portal today to learn more about these funds and identify the top sources of funding for your business.