Social Enterprises Should Be Part of Atlantic Innovation Plan, Say MPs

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sean casey eventA quartet of Atlantic Canada Liberal MPs are calling on their own government to sharply ramp up financial support for economic growth in the region even though the four Atlantic provinces already get more federal funding for economic development than Quebec, Ontario, or Western Canada.

The MPs, one from each Atlantic Canada province serving on what they’ve called the Atlantic Growth Strategy Subcommittee on Innovation, tabled the report Monday here. The MPs on the the subcommittee are Matt DeCourcey of Fredericton, Sean Casey of Charlottetown, Andy Fillmore of Halifax and Nick Whalen of St. John’s.

"Social enterprises, and not just businesses with potential for high growth, should be part of the federal government's innovation plans", says the federal Atlantic growth strategy innovation subcommittee.

The subcommittee makes a number of recommendations, including a stronger focus on supporting social enterprises.

The report says providing social enterprises with access to funding commensurate with that offered to for-profit companies will allow them "to demonstrate their value in reducing more expensive government intervention."

The report notes social enterprises are not eligible for 95 per cent of federal programs and services, but are significant job creators. The report proposes a partnership including federal and provincial governments and private enterprise to create a new pre-seed capital fund. The fund would make investments in early-stage companies to support their growth.

A high-risk tolerance would be required for such a fund, the subcommittee notes, because there is a high failure rate in early-stage companies, but this can be offset by the possibility of greater successes.

Download the A Faster, More Agile And Certain Atlantic Canada report

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