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To qualify for the funding, startups must be private, incorporated and have a head office with more than 50 per cent of their workforce in Alberta. Companies that have benefitted from the funding have typically been in the information and communications field, clean energy technology, health and life sciences, agriculture and biotechnology, the government said.
One of the first businesses to benefit from the program was Calgary-based Simplicity Global Solutions, a mortgage company. Co-founder and CEO Neil Babiy said the funding will help his company establish itself as it prepares to compete globally.
“(The) funding has accelerated our scale-up plans from hires and innovation and help solidify key Canadian partnerships,” he said. “That’s allowing us to overcome the many challenges startups are faced when they are commercializing our new innovations.”
The funding announcement follows last year’s decision by the UCP government to cut a number of tax incentives that benefited tech companies including the Alberta Investor Tax Credit and the Interactive Digital Media. Both tax credits were originally brought in by the NDP.
In December, the province formed the Innovation Capital Working Group with the sole goal of attracting new tech investment. The group’s report, released in July, included 14 recommendations to help Alberta’s tech industry. The UCP already followed through on one of those recommendations by announcing an injection of $175-million over three years into the AEC that tech investors could directly access.