The Canadian government has announced the launch of the Regional Economic Growth Through Innovation (REGI) program, which will be dedicated to carrying out business scale-up objectives laid out in Budget 2018.
In Budget 2018, the Canadian government earmarked $400 million over five years on an accrual basis, and $511 million over five years on a cash basis to regional development agencies. Of this, $105 million will be dedicated to supporting women entrepreneurs specifically.
The program is one of four flagship national innovation programs, which include the Industrial Research Assistance Program, the Strategic Innovation Fund, and the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service.
“Innovation doesn’t happen only in big cities; it happens in all regions of Canada. That’s why our regional development agencies play an important role in helping businesses turn innovation into economic growth and good jobs for Canadians,” said Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. “The new REGI program will provide consistent support to regions across the country, ensuring that Canadian businesses can scale up, access global markets and adopt new technologies, no matter where they are in Canada.”
Under REGI, investments by regional economic development agencies into businesses will focus on two new program streams:
- Business scale-up and productivity: Investing in and supporting businesses at various stages of development, including high-growth firms. The goal is to accelerate growth, assist businesses in scaling up, and enhance productivity and competitiveness in both domestic and global markets.
- Regional innovation ecosystems: To create and support inclusive regional ecosystems that support business needs and foster an entrepreneurial environment conducive to innovation, growth, and competitiveness.
While REGI will focus on these two streams, RDAs will continue to support businesses and communities through existing programming to foster economic development opportunities and diversification in their regions.
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