The federal government pledged $1.83 million toward Northern Ontario Angels during a media conference in Sudbury on Thursday.
Sudbury Liberal MP Viviane Lapointe led the press conference, which also featured Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré.
The investment, Lapointe told gathered media, “leads to the growth of our communities, it leads to growth of jobs and it leads to really good, rich prosperity for those communities across the north.”
Northern Ontario Angels is a not-for-profit organization led by a board of volunteers, which connects a collection of approximately 400 investors with entrepreneurs in Northern Ontario.
FedNor has provided the organization with operational support since 2005, and Northern Ontario Angels executive director Ian Lane said their latest pledge will allow them to continue doing what they’ve been doing.
The boost in funding in 2020 allowed the organization to expand throughout a greater swath of Northern Ontario, Lane said, as well as hire a director of international development to bring in more foreign investors.
The next three years will see increased support for life sciences and mining innovation companies and more international investments in Northern Ontario companies, according to a media release accompanying Thursday’s announcement.
“We do a lot of work to make sure their pitch is ready (for investors), their financials are in a good place and that their company is truly scalable and they can be paired with the right investor,” Lane told Sudbury.com.
FedNor executive director of programs Lucy Perreault told Sudbury.com that although her organization assists businesses more directly, it’s at a much later stage than when the so-called angel investors come into play.
“They have expertise that we don’t necessarily have, and they have a network they’ve built over the years,” she said, adding that angel investors work with entrepreneurs at the beginning stages of their efforts, while FedNor comes in “when they’re ready for commercialization.”
“They have that infrastructure already built and they enable those partnerships to happen,” Lapointe said.
“They’ve attracted more than $250 million in investments since they began, so you can just see the return on investment when you invest in organizations like Northern Ontario Angels.”
Federal Minister Patty Hajdu, who is responsible for FedNor, was in Sudbury to announce more than $6 million in support for 13 Northern Ontario businesses on Wednesday.
Hajdu had intended on attending Thursday’s announcement as well, but Lapointe said last-minute changes pulled her away from Sudbury.
Northern Ontario Angels was created in 2005, and is credited with helping more than 500 companies receive investments of more than $250 million from angel investors. Through these investments, they’ve helped create and maintain almost 6,000 new jobs across Northern Ontario.
Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.