Speech Article from  Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

Archived - Investing in Business Innovation Initiative Funding Announcement for the Waterloo Accelerator Centre

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Speaking Points

The Honourable Gary Goodyear,
Minister of State for
the Federal Economic Development Agency
for Southern Ontario

Waterloo, Ontario

January 15, 2015

Speech length: approximately 7 minutes, 30 seconds

Check Against Delivery

Thank you for that kind introduction, Peter.

Good morning ladies and gentlemen, friends and guests.

Bonjour mesdames et messieurs, amis et invités.

I would first like to thank the Accelerator Centre for hosting today's announcement. It is a pleasure to be here.

C'est un grand plaisir d'être ici avec vous aujourd'hui.

As you can see from looking around the office here, many people are hard at work at this Centre. This space and what you see here is an example of the support that is available for high-growth companies in and around the Cambridge-Kitchener-Waterloo area.

It is companies such as those working with the Accelerator Centre that are creating jobs and bringing new ideas to the forefront each and every day.

I'd like to speak about small businesses for a moment.

Small and medium-sized businesses, as you know, are the backbone of the Canadian economy. They employ about 70 percent of the total labour force in the private sector. They account for nearly 90 percent of Canadian exporters. And they contribute about 41 percent to Canada's private sector gross domestic product.

That's why our Government is committed to helping our entrepreneurs and businesses to grow and prosper.

Ladies and gentlemen, from lowering taxes, to cutting red tape, to signing free trade agreements, our Government has set the right macro-economic conditions for Canadian businesses succeed.

We are also making life more affordable for Canadian families with our recent Family Tax Cut, so that families can have more money in their pockets, to spend on their priorities — as a family.

As Prime Minister Harper stated, "Our Government is fulfilling its promise to balance the federal budget and we are now in a position to help families budget theirs."

The same sentiments extend to our focus on economic growth. We remain dedicated to providing the right resources to the individuals and businesses in this region to create jobs, stay competitive, and prosper long-term.

And a big part of that long-term prosperity is ensuring access to capital and to mentoring support to help entrepreneurs become successful businesses.

That's why, in 2010, Prime Minister Stephen Harper launched the Investing in Business Innovation initiative, or IBI for southern Ontario. There were two goals for IBI:

First, it was to help grow the local angel investment community.

The second objective was to improve access to financing for start-up businesses. Any business applying for federal funding had to secure commitments from angel or venture capital investors.

I can tell you that the initiative was extremely well-received and benefitted close to 350 companies — 86 with direct investments from my agency FedDev Ontario, and 260 through angel investors who were members of angel networks supported by our agency.

As a result, I re-launched IBI last December so we could keep growing our innovation network here in southern Ontario.

This brings me to why we are all here today. I am pleased to announce an investment of up to $8 million for the Waterloo Accelerator Centre to expand its AC JumpStart Program. [Pause for applause].

What will this mean for this Region's vibrant entrepreneurs?

The project will include new delivery partners. This means more support for high-potential companies in their efforts to attract new customers and get their products and services into new markets.

It will mean that the program can assist innovative companies in the area to keep up the traction they have made with customers and product development − a critical stage for many small businesses.

Getting Canadian ideas and products to markets around the world helps keep and create new jobs right here at home.

So, I am happy to note that the new funding for AC JumpStart is expected to help 180 high-potential businesses grow, which will result in maintaining 180 jobs and creating 700 jobs.

Our Government is fostering economic growth in Kitchener, Cambridge and all of the Waterloo Region area by investing in our innovative Canadian businesses.

Today's announcement is a great example of how our Government is helping high-potential companies bring great ideas to market faster. Helping our entrepreneurs and innovators export their products and services to the rest of the world creates jobs, growth and economic prosperity here at home.

Ladies and gentleman, our Government believes that it is support like this that can help put our southern Ontario innovations and companies on the map.

Organizations like yours and those you support are why this region has such a strong reputation for business innovation and technology. In fact, according to Canada's Technology Triangle, there are over 1000 technology firms in the Waterloo Region.

Congratulations again. I look forward to seeing the successes that result from the expanded AC JumpStart Program.

Thank you.

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