Minister Vandal announces federal investment supporting innovation and business growth in Manitoba

News release

Over $22 million to boost innovation and business growth in Manitoba

Over $22.7 million of PrairiesCan funding to support innovation and growth in Manitoba

November 18, 2022 – Winnipeg, Manitoba, PrairiesCan

Manitoba is home to a dynamic and diversified economy, full of skilled workers and entrepreneurs. The province is known for its rich agricultural base, transportation expertise, vibrant arts community, and as a significant manufacturing hub. The Government of Canada is taking more steps to ensure Manitoba is a place for industry to grow and enterprises to thrive, resulting in good jobs for Canadian workers.

Today, at the home of the future New Media Manitoba StudioLab XR in Winnipeg, the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister for PrairiesCan, announced over $22.7 million in federal funding for 16 projects across the province as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week. This investment is expected to create nearly 850 new jobs, 187 of which will be for highly qualified personnel. The projects are anticipated to result in over $200 million of revenue growth and $130 million in export sales.

One of the projects announced today include a first-of-its-kind virtual media production-training studio in the Prairies. Others support businesses across a number of sectors. ComIT will expand digital skills programming on the Prairies, with a focus on underrepresented groups in the digital sector. Two of the projects are at the University of Manitoba—one to construct a controlled facility to test unmanned aerial vehicles, and another to develop the advancement of technologies supporting the protein research cluster.

Funding for the projects is supported through the Business Scale-up and Productivity (BSP) program, the Jobs and Growth Fund (JGF), the COVID-19 Relief Fund, the Regional Innovation Ecosystems (RIE) program, and the Aerospace Regional Recovery Initiative (ARRI). PrairiesCan in Manitoba administers all five federal programs. 


“Our investment today will support both Manitoba’s economy and businesses helping to continue to make Manitoba a great place to invest, do business and create good jobs people can count on. Our partnership with Manitoba businesses will help them in acquiring the tools, capital and support they need to thrive as significant contributors to the Prairie and Canadian economies.”
–The Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister for PrairiesCan

"ComIT is thrilled to partner with PrairiesCan in a new 3-year project to bring free training to Indigenous peoples, Newcomers and other underrepresented communities across the Prairies who are interested in Digital Skills to join the tech talent pool. We look forward to continuing working together with the Government of Canada to accommodate as many applicants as possible to grow the tech sector ecosystem."
–Pablo Linstingart, Executive Director, ComIT

“Innovation in the interactive digital media industry is driven by big ideas, the newest technologies and talented professionals. However, with the rate of change moving faster than ever, preparing a modern workforce with the right skills is an ongoing challenge. StudioLab xR facility is designed from the ground up to provide solutions to these challenges. By providing certified expertise, industry-leading tools, and a space to learn, explore and create, we can ensure the Manitobans are ready for jobs of the future”
–Louie Ghiz, Executive Director New Media Manitoba

“Canadian companies in the Prairies are relying on drones more and more to assist with everything from bridge inspections to precision farming and water sampling. Dr. Phil Ferguson’s research at the Price Faculty of Engineering, University of Manitoba is advancing these applications by developing intelligent control systems that enable companies to adopt these mobile robotic technologies safely and reliably. A new DroneZone facility, made possible by funding from Prairies Canada, will accelerate this critical research by providing an indoor proving ground for the next generation of drones and mobile robotics.”
–Dr. Marcia Friesen, Dean, Price Faculty of Engineering, University of Manitoba

Quick facts

  • The Business Scale-up and Productivity (BSP) program advances PrairiesCan’s strategic priorities. It supports high-growth businesses that are seeking to improve productivity, scale-up and commercialize technology. It offers interest-free, repayable funding to incorporated businesses.

  • The Jobs and Growth Fund (JGF) provides funding to businesses and organizations to help create jobs and position local economies for long-term growth. The fund, delivered by Canada’s regional development agencies (RDAs), provides $700 million nationally over 3 years. This includes up to $70 million dedicated to businesses created after January 2020 that meet eligibility criteria.

  • As part of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the COVID-19 Relief Fund assisted businesses to mitigate financial pressures caused by the pandemic. It supported eligible operating costs up to a maximum of 12 consecutive months.

  • Through the Regional Innovation Ecosystems (RIE) program, the Government of Canada makes targeted investments in not-for-profit organizations that support businesses in priority sectors to innovate, grow and compete globally. RIE is open to not-for-profit organizations that support businesses, innovators and entrepreneurs, for start-up, growth, productivity, technology commercialization, technology adoption, export, and investment attraction.

  • The Aerospace Regional Recovery Initiative (ARRI) helps the Canadian aerospace sector emerge from the pandemic with the capacity to compete on the global stage. This Initiative supports small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to green their operations and adopt environmentally sustainable practices, to improve productivity, and to strengthen commercialization while furthering integration into regional and global supply chains.

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Kyle Allen
Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada, and Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Amanda Houssin
A/Director, Policy, Planning and External Relations
Prairies Economic Development Canada

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