A $250 million federal funding injection aimed at helping Canada’s tech sector weather COVID-19 is being praised by those who believe Alberta startups will play a key role in driving the province’s eventual economic recovery.
The funding — announced Friday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — will be made available to tech entrepreneurs through the existing Industrial Research Assistance Program, which helps innovative companies commercialize and is run by the National Research Council of Canada.
Tech companies and business groups have been calling on the federal government for weeks to deliver some kind of aid package specifically for startups and scale-ups. Many early-stage companies aren’t eligible for the broad-based relief programs that have already been rolled out for Canadian businesses.
The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, for example, is only available to businesses that can demonstrate a 30 per cent year-over-year decline in revenue — something that makes the program inaccessible to startups that aren’t yet making a profit.
“They (tech companies) have been falling through the cracks,” said Adam Legge, president of the Business Council of Alberta. “They just didn’t qualify, for a host of different reasons. So to see something that is actually responsive to the realities of an early-stage technology company . . . is very positive news.”
Image: Calgary Herald