The Government of Canada has recently announced the creation of a Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative (VCCI), which will invest over $400 million into the Canadian venture capital industry. The government has committed to a fund of $350 million, which will be matched by private sector investments at a rate of 2.25. This initiative has the potential to raise up to $1.5 billion to be invested directly into venture capital firms. The remaining $50 million of the fund will be used to invest in funds that are focused on promoting gender diversity and inclusion.

The VCCI was announced by the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, and the Minister of Small Business and Tourism, Bardish Chagger, on December 18, 2017. The VCCI is particularly focused on securing late-stage venture capital for high-growth Canadian firms that are looking to expand and compete on a global scale.

The initiative has been lauded by the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA). The matching funds approach, opines the CVCA, will promote the sustainability of Canada’s innovation ecosystem by creating a space that is attractive for new investors to participate. “This funding will be instrumental in propelling our country forward; bolstering our industry, and creating the jobs of the future,” states Mike Woollatt, CEO of the CVCA.

The requests for proposals are now open on the Government of Canada website, and interested participants are encouraged to apply ahead of the February 23 deadline. Candidates who are successful will be held accountable to the VCCI’s diversity goals and will be required to report on the gender balance of the entrepreneurs they are supporting. Canada is now ranked third in the world for venture capital investment, and the VCCI is anticipated to allow Canada to continue developing its reputation as a market where entrepreneurs and venture capital firms can grow and succeed.