[HALIFAX, NS] — The Nova Scotia New Democrats are moving ahead with a regional venture capital fund despite a cool reception from Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Premier Darrell Dexter said Monday he still wouldn’t rule out participation from across the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Northumberland Strait. But he said the project will move forward, even if Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are the only participants.
“We will go ahead as New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and, of course, (the) offer was left open to both the other provinces,” Dexter told reporters. “We continue to have conversations with them, and we’ll see where that goes.”
Dexter first floated the idea of the fund in a speech to the Halifax Chamber of Commerce in November 2010. The idea was to create a fund, managed by the private sector with a $15 million investment from participating provinces, to stimulate venture capital across Atlantic Canada.
Dexter said it’s taken a frustratingly long time to get the fund up and running, but is confident it will still benefit the region with only two provinces participating.
“The broader the market is that we can service, the better (the fund) is,” said Dexter. “(But) the two of us coming together actually creates a great deal of potential for this fund … obviously we’d like to bring in all four provinces, but I think part of this is getting the fund up and running and that will create some momentum.”
Interview requests to the offices of Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale and P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz were not returned Monday afternoon.