The provincial government announced details and introduced legislation Tuesday for a $500 million investment fund it says will help small and medium businesses thrive in the post-pandemic economy.
Premier John Horgan and Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon announced details of the InBC Investment Corp., which the government says will “provide a source of patient capital to build a more innovative, low-carbon economy by investing in high potential businesses to help them to scale and grow in B.C.”
The province said investments made through InBC will seek financial returns while also supporting the “social, economic and environmental policy objectives of the government.” The CleanBC plan and the province’s economic strategy will inform those objectives, it added.
Horgan said InBC will focus on creating and maintaining jobs and growing the “innovative” economy through investments in partnership with the private sector.
He said, too often, these innovative jobs and companies created in B.C. have left for other jurisdictions as smaller businesses have struggled to grow in this province.
InBC was announced in September 2020. It was originally a Crown corporation with a different name, the B.C. Immigrant Investment Fund. That fund had a surplus of $60 million and was involved in loaning money to public bodies like universities and health authorities for infrastructure work and was also invested in some venture capital initiatives.
The province said legislation introduced Tuesday will convert InBC into a statutory Crown corporation.
The province said Tuesday’s legislation will keep investment decisions independent by giving sole investment authority to InBC’s chief investment officer (CIO). The government, ministers and the board and CEO of InBC will be forbidden from directing the CIO, the government said.
These safeguards will protect the CIO from actual or perceived interference and enhance InBC’s credibility to partner investors, it added.
InBC’s board will consist of two members from the public sector — deputy ministers at this time — and seven members from the private sector, who have not yet been appointed.
The province said InBC will be seeking returns in the neighbourhood of five per cent for its investments to find a balance with its non-financial goals.
It said reporting on the demographics of the entrepreneurs whose businesses are invested in will be reported publicly online.