In the interest of transparency, the Government of Yukon’s Department of Economic Development has announced and identified the beneficiaries of its new Economic Development Fund program.
“I am happy to see that the program is being used by a variety of local organizations and I hope this is just the start,” Economic Development Minister Ranj Pillai said.
This year, 28 different projects will receive over $ 1 million, with individual projects funded in a wide range of values, from $ 1,500 to $ 184,000.
At the end of last year, the ministry merged its three previous programs (Regional Economic Development, Strategic Industries Development and Enterprise Trade Fund) into one new program, and prioritized it according to the amount of funding requested, making it look a lot like CDF (Community Development Fund). This model allows funders to draw on a wide range of eligible projects and then assess which comes first for funding based on criteria and priorities.
The list of entities eligible for this new program is long, as is the list of eligible activities. Projects can receive a grant of up to 75 percent of project costs and up to 50 percent of capital costs. This is the first time that capital expenditures have been eligible for Yukon economic programs in more than two decades.
The press release states that the goal of this funding program is to provide long-term, sustainable economic benefits to Yukoners and Yukon communities. It also indicates that the projects were evaluated from a perspective that included an assessment of the impacts of climate change and alignment with the strategy for a clean future.
Seventy-seven requests have been received since April 1 and approximately 43% have been refused or withdrawn. Some applications are still being evaluated.
Based on background information provided by Economic Development and sorted by dollar value by the Yukon News, the following four projects each received over $ 100,000:
- ORO Enterprises Ltd. received $ 184,369 to “obtain a Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment (YESA) and required approvals from the Yukon Water Board.” These are required components of the feasibility of Phase 1 and the regulatory phase of the realization of the New Era North Fork hydroelectric project plan. ”
- VanGorda Enterprises Convenience received $ 103,427 to “modernize and renovate the VanGorda building and convenience store.” Not only will this project fill a current community need for essential services, the establishment of this expanded business will also make Faro a more attractive community for future residents and businesses. ”
- Kryotek Arctic Innovation Inc. received $ 100,000 to “field test and optimize a software system that detects the approach of a forest fire. The proof of these field tests will allow them to take their product to the next stage of development. ”
- Landed Bakehouse received $ 100,000 to “purchase business assets and renovate leased space to allow a licensed commercial kitchen to operate in their business and meet current demand.” This project will allow Landed Bakehouse to meet increased demand and sell to local grocery stores that have agreed to supply their products. The impacts of this project will include a long-term impact on employment, an impact on skills development, improved organizational capacity, long-term sustainable benefits and business expansion.
The medium-sized recipients were:
- Apprendo Learning Systems received $ 75,000 to “build and rapidly deploy technology that allows other software to integrate with the Apprendo platform through an application programming interface and immediately monetize that development.” The Apprendo platform will have a new technical functionality that will increase competitiveness and meet market demand. In addition, the functionality will likely have the impact of increasing the valuation and attractiveness of Apprendo for potential investors. An increase in sales would lead to more employment and growth opportunities within the company and increase retention with a positive impact on recurring revenue leading to long term sustainable beneficial results.
- Outpost 31 Media received $ 53,350, with the following description: “Outpost 31 has developed a training program to bring cutting edge technology to the areas of digital literacy, virtual and augmented reality and the animation industry in the Yukon. This funding is used to pay the salaries associated with the training of four trainees in this technology. By teaching the skills required for this technology, trainees will acquire the skills to complement the digital media and animation of this film rather than outsourcing them to digital media experts in the south. Successful interns will also be able to transfer their newly acquired skills to other industries that use and exploit modern technology, such as mining, land resource management and tech start-ups.
- Greenwood Engineering Solutions received $ 45,731 to “develop an in-house service to provide homeowners with better information on the condition of sanitary and storm sewer infrastructure throughout the Yukon.” This service has always been subcontracted to non-local entities or carried out with equipment that no longer meets industry standards. This will increase the organizational capacity to provide municipal engineering advisory services to communities in the Yukon.
- The North End Gallery received $ 41,413 to “work with a digital marketing company to develop and implement an export market strategy for the first year.” To pivot this business, which in non-COVID-19 times attributes 60% of sales to visitors, the gallery is reshaping its business model to export to the U.S. and European markets through online sales, in addition to improving the operational efficiency and increase sales of Yukon products. . ”
The full list is available online.
Initial reactions from the business community have been mixed. The program is new, and it involves a new way of deciding. The Yukon Chamber of Commerce has requested a conversation with the department to understand the new decision-making process. Denny Kobayashi, executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Commerce, said some of its members are concerned about issues such as competitiveness and market disruption.
Asked about the competitive advantage obtained through government funding, spokesperson Damian Topps replied that “all eligible companies are invited to apply and are subject to a project selection and evaluation process”.
Other companies are happy with the transparency of the new Economic Development Fund because now people know where the funding is going, who is funded and for what purpose. This information was not available for the three previous programs.
Contact Lawrie Crawford at [email protected]