On March 28th, the Quebec Minister of Finance Carlos Leitão tabled the government of Quebec’s 2017 budget.
Among the key measures is an allotment of $100 million to create an artificial intelligence super-cluster and $8 million for immediate action to support entrepreneurship. Other allocations include $15 million to capitalize the RV Orbite Montréal fund and $7.5 million to increase the capitalization of the Fonds InnovExport.
$100 million to create an artificial intelligence super-cluster
The $100 million investment to create an artificial intelligence super-cluster is intended to make Montreal a world-class center of excellence in the field. To further this goal, the budget has prioritized five areas: (i) attracting and retaining talent; (ii) consolidating a critical mass of high-calibre researchers; (iii) creating a business environment that supports the development and marketing of products and solutions resulting from scientific advancements; (iv) business start-ups and access to venture capital in the field of artificial intelligence in Quebec; and (v) the acceptability and social impact of artificial intelligence.
The super-cluster will use data from the Institute for data valorization to provide resources needed to develop artificial intelligence innovation, form partnerships with higher education institutions and the private sector, and examine the issues associated with data science, in particular those relating to confidentiality and ethics.
$15 million to capitalize the RV Orbite Montreal fund
Through a partnership with the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the Fonds de solidarité FTQ and Capital régional et coopératif Desjardins, the 2017 Budget provides $15 million to be invested in the RV Orbite Montréal fund, which will have a total capitalization of $30 million.
The creation of this pre-seeding and seeding fund for technology businesses is supported by the Real Ventures team, in order to continue its investment activities in collaboration with Québec incubators and accelerators, in particular the FounderFuel accelerator.
RV Orbite Montréal fund plans to make more than 20 investments each year, primarily in the form of equity investments. They will target various technology sectors, including artificial intelligence, virtual reality, digital health, financial technologies, and smart cities.
$7.5 million to increase the capitalization of the Fonds InnovExport
After providing $15 million to be invested in the Fonds InnovExport in 2016, the 2017 Budget allows for an additional $7.5 million investment. The fund’s objective is to provide a funding tool to support the
The fund’s objective is to provide a funding tool to support the seeding and start-up phases of innovative Québec businesses targeting export markets, that are supported by a Québec incubator or accelerator.
$8 million for immediate action to support entrepreneurship
The 2017 Budget has allotted nearly $8 million to support initiatives that that will contribute to the new entrepreneurship action plan to be unveiled shortly.
This amount has been further broken down into: $4 million to support Inno-centre; $1.2 million to fund start-up projects through the Startup Québec program; and $2.7 million to support the École des entrepreneurs, which will set up four new schools in various regions of Quebec.
It seems as though tech companies are truly at the forefront of Quebec’s budget for the upcoming year.