'Innovative companies will leave Ontario' warns Venture Capital Association

    TORONTO, April 26 /CNW/ - The Province of Ontario's Finance Committee was
warned today that funding for early stage innovative companies is in crisis
and the Premier's innovation agenda at risk.
    Les Lyall, President of the Canadian Retail Venture Capital Association
and Senior Vice President of GrowthWorks addressed Ontario's Standing
Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs and provided the Committee with grim
news: "Total venture capital available in Ontario for early stage new deals
decreased 92 percent between 2000 and 2006," noted Lyall. "And last year, only
41 companies received first time financing compared to 187 companies in 2000.
This is the lowest number of financings in at least 10 years."
    Dr. Niclas Stiernholm, Chief Executive Officer of Trillium Therapeutics
appeared alongside Mr. Lyall and urged the committee to embrace a solution to
the crisis. "Companies like Trillium have benefited from LSIF funding. But if
this funding was not available, we would have had no choice but to move to a
jurisdiction where it was."
    Lyall and Stiernholm recommended that the Province adopt two immediate
budget amendments: (1) restore the LSIF tax credit and (2) create a new retail
venture capital tax credit program to kick start the industry to its former
funding levels.

    CRVCA is a voluntary organization whose members raise money from
individual investors under the Labour Sponsored Investment Fund (LSIF)
program. The Funds provide start up and expansion capital for Canadian
companies primarily in the life sciences and technology markets and help
companies take their concepts and products to commercialization.

For further information:

For further information: To arrange an interview or receive a copy of
the brief presented to the committee, please contact: Hazel Parilla, Weber
Shandwick, (416) 642-7893, (416) 854-2587 cell; Tania Ensor, Weber Shandwick,
(416) 642-7965, (416) 509-6814 cell

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