Atlantic Region: Venture capital plan remains on backburner

Alex Boutilier
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Metro Halifax

The goal of the initiative, first mentioned by Dexter in November 2010, was to get all four Atlantic provinces to commit $15 million for a regional fund aimed at high-risk, high-potential start-up companies.

Premier Darrell Dexter, right, at Thursday's premier meetings in Halifax.

[HALIFAX, NS] — Almost two years after Premier Darrell Dexter floated the idea, the regional venture capital plan remains on the backburner for two of four Atlantic provinces.

On the second day of Council of the Federation meetings in Halifax, Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale said her province has no interest in joining the fund at the moment.

“We’ve decided at this point in time not to opt into the fund,” Dunderdale said Thursday. “We have other priorities at home at the moment, so our focus is going to be there.”

The initiative, first mentioned by Dexter in November 2010, was aimed at getting all four Atlantic provinces to commit $15 million for a regional fund aimed at high-risk, high-potential start-up companies.

Prince Edward Island Premier Robert Ghiz was not available for comment. A representative from his office said no final decision has been made, but the idea is not a priority at this current juncture.

Newfoundland already partially funds a venture capital outfit, the Newfoundland and Labrador Angel Network. P.E.I. funded a private venture capital fund, P.E.I. Capital, in 1996 to the tune of $300,000, with an additional $900,000 loan from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

For his part, Dexter said Nova Scotia and New Brunswick plan to move forward with the initiative alone. A search for a private-sector manager for the fund, launched in September 2011, is ongoing.

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Angel Network, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.For

Geographic location: HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador Prince Edward Island New Brunswick

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