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Feds provide $26M in interest-free loans to Saskatchewan businesses

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Nearly a dozen Saskatchewan businesses were granted $26 million of support from the federal government in an announcement Wednesday. As Brady Ratzlaff reports, the money will be used to provide innovation and growth within the province. – Jun 30, 2022

The federal government announced on Wednesday that nearly a dozen Saskatchewan businesses will be granted $26 million of support.

The funds will be used to stimulate innovation and growth within the province.

Minister Responsible for Prairies Economic Development Daniel Vandal announced the funding would go towards 11 businesses across the provinces.

Read more: Federal spending does fuel inflation, but it’s worth the hit, Desjardins says

The funding will support businesses in digital technology, agriculture and agrifood, advanced manufacturing, and health and safety.

“We are helping businesses commercialize their cutting edge products and services to accelerate growth and create new markets in a growing Prairie economy,” Vandal said.

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The funds are interest-free repayable loans under the Business Scale Up Productivity and Jobs Growth Fund.

Coconut Software is receiving $5 million in funds, which its owner says is vital to show the tech industry is alive and thriving in Saskatchewan.

Coconut Software founder and CEO Katherine Regnier noted the tech hubs are in bigger cities like Toronto and Vancouver, and when the company started to raise venture capital, she was asked when and where they would be moving.

“I thought, ‘Oh no, no — we got this far without you and I think we can keep going,’” Regnier said.

“We actually have a lot of advantages that we don’t have to live in the city, but we definitely should be taking that knowledge and bringing it back so we become a better and stronger place as a tech community.”

The corporation will use the money to expand the market for its in-demand appointment scheduling program.

The $3.5 million going to Biktrix enterprises will be used for funding commercialized new electric bike hardware and software.

Founder and CEO Roshan Thomas said he started the business in 2013 in his garage while working a full-time job. It’s since grown to about 60 employees.

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“We want to continue investing in people, and take those risks that we normally wouldn’t have if we did not have the additional fuel on the fire, so to say, from governments,” said Thomas.

Northern Nutrients Ltd. is also receiving more than $3.8 million to acquire new equipment for specialty fertilizer manufacturing.

Another $5 million is going to a group of companies operating as Donald Fine Foods to convert a closed beef processing plant in Moose Jaw to a sow slaughter and processing plant.

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Just under $1.8 million will be going to Mother Labs to expand and enhance cannabis breeding operations in Western Canada.

The overall funding from the federal level will also create 500 jobs for the province.

Vandal says this work is expected to result in over $470 million in revenue, with more than $290 million in export sales.

“When we see promising businesses that need just a little bit of extra help to achieve success and to grow, our government will always be there in partnership,” Vandal said.

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