Ottawa has announced plans to invest $710,000 in support for initiatives to be delivered by the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO) in both Western Canada and Atlantic Canada. The initiatives are designed to “support the early-stage capital ecosystem and create new pathways to scale and growth for entrepreneurs.”
In Western Canada, Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), will provide NACO with $500,000 to support not-for-profit angel organizations and business accelerators, provide virtual delivery of NACO Academy investment training, mentorship and ecosystem events, and establish a second NACO office, in Calgary.
This will be done in collaboration with local organizations, such as Manitoba’s North Forge Technology Exchange, Saskatchewan’s technology incubator Co. Labs, Victoria’s Capital Investment Network, Vancouver’s Angel Forum and VANTEC Angel Network, Valhalla Angels in Alberta, and Calgary-based The51.
In Atlantic Canada, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), will provide NACO with $210,000 to support formal and accessible angel investor and entrepreneur/start-up education, increased investor connection and networking opportunities, and the development and dissemination of key industry insights and best practices.
NACO, a national platform for both angel investors and the innovation hubs that support Canada’s entrepreneurs, said in a release that “entrepreneurs are the key to our economic recovery.
“In order to secure Canada’s future, we must establish a domestic supply chain of capital, both public and private sector working together to support all entrepreneurs, providing them with the resources they need to grow and scale.”
According to its recently released report on angel activity, angel investment continues to be unevenly distributed across Canada and critical “access to capital” gaps persist across the national landscape, hindering the emergence of high growth companies.
“For example, this past year Central Canada (Ontario and Quebec) accounted for 86% of investments compared with 13% in Western Canada and 1% in Atlantic Canada,” the report notes.
“Additional data compiled by Entrevestor on investment activity in Atlantic Canada shows an alarming decline in angel investment in the region with a drop in 2019 of more than 25% from the previous year, the lowest figure in three years.”
NACO said the new initiatives are designed to address these and issues.
“It is critical that we support job creation — in all regions and communities — that is resilient and sustainable over the long-term,” said Claudio Rojas, CEO of NACO. “When entrepreneurs have rapid access to capital in their local communities, they are better positioned to scale their companies into the job creation engines of the future.
“As long as regional funding gaps persist, we will continue to be faced with untapped potential as a country. By taking a collaborative approach, working in partnership with our national network of angel groups, we can increase access to capital for Canada’s entrepreneurs by an order of magnitude. These newly announced initiatives are just the beginning.”