Manitoba government appoints board members of $50 million provincial fund of funds

Winnipeg skyline
The fund’s target size is $150 million.

The Manitoba government has named the five members joining the inaugural board of its newly created fund-of-funds for Manitoba-focused businesses.

Premier Heather Stefanson announced the board appointees for Manitoba’s Venture Capital Fund (VCF) on Monday.

The board consists of Exchange Income Corporate CEO Mike Pyle, who will serve as the board’s chair, as well as Falcon Capital Corporation president Steve Kroft, Enns Brothers CEO Ray Bouchard, University of Winnipeg chancellor Barb Gamey, and Manitoba Technology Accelerator CEO Marshall Ring.

“The Manitoba government’s investment … will enable … rapidly growing companies to stay in our province, create good jobs and increase our tax base.”
– Mike Pyle, fund chair

The province committed $50 million to the fund in April as part of Budget 2022 and aims to scale it to $150 million overall from private investors. The Manitoba government initially announced its intention to create VCF last year.

As a fund of funds, VCF will not be directly investing in companies but will be investing in other funds to attract more capital to the province.

Additionally, as part of Budget 2022, the provincial government made the Small Business Venture Capital Tax Credit permanent. This tax credit provides a non-refundable Manitoba tax credit of up to 45 percent to individuals and corporations that acquire equity capital in eligible Manitoba enterprises.

“For 17 years, the previous administration ignored the venture capital drought in Manitoba and a generation of young Manitoba entrepreneurs were faced with a terrible choice: give up your dreams, or move to another province or country to pursue them,” said Stefanson. “The result was a lost generation of gifted Manitobans who left the province. That drought ends permanently today.”

Certain organizations in Manitoba were chosen to appoint board members to VCF. The Business Council of Manitoba appointed Pyle and Kroft, while the Manitoba government appointed Bouchard and Gamey. Ring was appointed by the Manitoba Technology Accelerator, which he heads up and was tasked by the province earlier this year with managing the money allocated for the venture capital fund on an interim basis. The accelerator was also responsible for creating a steering committee to establish the fund’s initial governance structure, according to CBC.

RELATED: Feds Invest $1.06 Million in Manitoba Technology Accelerator

Pyle told CBC that the Business Council of Manitoba has been lobbying the government to establish a provincial venture capital body since the organization’s inception over two decades ago. He added that he expects the fund’s money to start getting dispersed sometime next year.

Following their appointment, the board members will take on managing the fund, such as hiring fund managers and staff, as well as developing investment approaches, policies, targets, and strategies.

Featured image from Pixabay.

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz is a staff writer for BetaKit.

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