The Government of Alberta is making some first steps toward diversifying their economy away from the oil and gas industry. The NDP announced Thursday the province would be providing $5 million in funding toward high-tech sector.
The Enhanced Innovation Voucher and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Support program was announced Thursday morning to provide $5 million in additional funding to help technology-focused businesses get their products on the market.
Services such as marketing, planning, research and development, and business formation will be more easily accessed under the new programs.
Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures (AITF) is the government program behind the announcement, and according to government numbers, the AITF has already produced 555 new jobs in 2014 and 2015.
“Our government is committed to making Alberta the best place in Canada to start a new business, build on innovation and get a new idea off the ground. This investment comes at the right time for Alberta’s high-tech researchers and entrepreneurs as we work together to build a more diverse and resilient economy,” said Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade.
The investment also comes on the heels of some foreboding numbers recently released by various players in Alberta’s economy. Just last week, ATB Financial forecast a “rocky year” for Alberta, predicting the provincial GDP would drop 0.5% in 2016. The Calgary Real Estate Board is also predicting home sales will drop this year by 3.4%, and the construction industry is set to lose 13,000 jobs.