New City initiative to support growth, investment in Vancouver entrepreneurs

July 25, 2014 | Jobs and the Economy

City Council approved the development of a new Vancouver Entrepreneur Fund, an arms-length venture capital fund that will raise private investment to support emerging start-up companies in Vancouver. The Fund will give the city's tech sector in particular an added boost as it competes globally for talent and investment.

"We need to be fostering a competitive tech sector in Vancouver, one with better access to capital so our companies can grow and stay local," said Mayor Gregor Robertson. "The Vancouver Entrepreneur Fund is based directly on the expert input we received from dozens of local companies and investors, which is that there is a lack of capital available for small and mid-size companies who want to expand. This Fund will help address that gap.

"My vision for Vancouver's economic success includes local companies growing and expanding right here in our city. With the Vancouver Entrepreneur Fund, we're improving the conditions for the success of local businesses right here in Vancouver."

The Vancouver Entrepreneur Fund will be delivered through the Vancouver Economic Commission. A request for proposals will go out to hire a third-party fund manager, who will be responsible for raising the funds to invest in local start-ups. City funding will not go in to the investment fund.

The fund will help link local innovators and entrepreneurs with key investors and equity funders both locally and abroad. The shortage of capital in Vancouver’s start-up ecosystem was a primary concern identified by local entrepreneurs in a series of roundtables carried out by the VEC this spring.

Mayor Robertson first announced the concept of the fund in a speech to the Vancouver Board of Trade in October 2013, as part of a series of steps to support local businesses and diversify Vancouver's economy.

Vancouver is recognized globally as a city with a strong start-up culture, and has been named as one of the top ten start-up ecosystems in the world by Startup Genome, and a top ten 'Smart City' by Fast Company.

To read the report from the Vancouver Economic Commission, click here:
http://former.vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20140723/documents/ptec4.pdf