Ahead of the UCP budget announcements later this week, the NDP has released a number of proposals aimed at supporting and strengthening the province’s technology and innovation sector.
As part of the party’s Alberta’s Future initiative, NDP leader Rachel Notley announced the party’s newest document, called Growing Tech, Creating Jobs, proposing the creation of an Alberta venture fund for the technology and Artificial Intelligence (A.I) sector.
“An Alberta venture (fund) would invite all Albertans to have the opportunity to invest themselves directly into Alberta tech companies,” Notley said Monday during a press conference at cSpace King Edward in Calgary. “The fund would exclusively support start-ups and scale-ups to increase the number of start-ups and help them all scale up.”
Notley, who was joined by economic development and innovation critic Deron Bilous and CEO of liveweb, Trent Johnsen, said the NDP would consider, as a government, an initial investment of $200M to get the fund started and “show confidence to other general and corporate investors from within Alberta.”
In comparing the premise to former Premier Ernest Manning’s great Canadian oil sands project, she said it allows Albertans to lay the groundwork in ensuring the tech and AI sectors can reach their full potential in the province.
“History tells us that when Albertans are given the opportunity to bet on themselves, great things are possible, and investing in the fund would provide Albertans the opportunity to earn returns themselves and support economic growth, diversification, and the long-term wellbeing of the province,” she said.
The document also recommends immediately reinstating the Alberta investor tax credit and the digital media tax credit as well as growing and modernizing the Alberta enterprise corporation and establishing a dedicated research and development fund.
“This is just one of several ideas that we’ve been putting forward through our Alberta Future project that can help build our economy and help build that more diversified economy that Albertans have been longing for decades,” she said. “We’ve been having conversations and listening to Albertans ideas about how we can do that… These aren’t just NDP proposals, they belong to Albertans so I definitely hope that the UCP is willing to listen.”