Canada unveils 2017 budget

Measures include a $710m commitment to establish clusters focused on technologies such as artificial intelligence and $300m to support the innovation ecosystem through the Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative.

The federal government of Canada last week released its budget for 2017, announcing several key areas that the country is hoping to focus on, according to Betakit.

At C$950m ($710m), the largest commitment has been made to the establishment of superclusters that target technologies including digital, cleantech, agrifood, advanced manufacturing, biosciences, and artificial intelligence (AI). The money will be allocated on a competitive basis to business-led clusters.

The government is particularly keen on AI technologies, with C$125m going towards the launch of a national strategy that will include collaboration efforts between existing AI hubs in Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton and Kitchener-Waterloo.

Another key point is the launch of the Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative (VCCI), a C$400m program to be administered over three years through economic development organisation Business Development Bank of Canada.

VCCI was created following the success of the Venture Capital Action Plan last year, an initiative to leverage government funds with private sector investment and expertise. VCCI will focus on late-stage companies in the country.

VCCI has been met with enthusiasm from the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association. Mike Woollatt, chief executive, said: “We are thrilled to have the government’s continued support.

“While we have some work to do in a review going forward as to the best way forward for VCCI, we are very pleased with an initiative like this specifically designed to catalyse Canadian venture capital.”

See more from this Government Report: Canada

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