Frequently Asked Questions
How does Alberta Enterprise operate? What are our responsibilities? How do we foster a venture capital industry in Alberta and why is that important? While it is somewhat complex, we’ve included a high-level overview to the questions we are most frequently asked.
Alberta Enterprise is an independent corporation created by the Alberta Government in 2008. We operate at arm’s length, managing investments of public funds on behalf of the Government of Alberta and its citizens. Alberta Enterprise is governed by the Alberta Enterprise Corporation Act, Regulation and Transfer Agreement with the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade.
Our mission is to foster a thriving venture capital (“VC”) industry in Alberta that provides access to venture capital and other resources needed to create successful Alberta companies.
We are working to fulfill our mission and mandate through investment as a Limited Partner (“LP”) in venture capital funds. We do not invest directly in Alberta companies, but in VC funds that have a track record of success and a demonstrated commitment to the province of Alberta.
From the day Alberta Enterprise opened its doors, we have been about connecting Alberta inventors, innovators, dreamers and doers to money, markets and mentors. Alberta Enterprise is helping to build a more sustainable, diversified technology industry in Alberta, one where home-grown innovation is encouraged and technology entrepreneurs have greater access to venture capital.
Alberta Enterprise does not invest directly in Alberta companies. Instead, we invest in VC funds that have a track record of success, strong global networks and a demonstrated commitment to the province of Alberta.
Over the past 50 years, governments around the world have used various approaches to increase the access to venture capital and to build a venture capital industry in their region. Policy makers have learned that rather than direct investment programs, a government sponsored fund which invests as a Limited Partner in VC funds is the most efficient and effective model to achieve access to venture capital.
Venture capital is a critical for transforming cutting-edge ideas and technologies into viable commercial products. It is a central part of the funding continuum for technology start-ups, as it provides a vital bridge between grants and commercialization funding to bank loans and larger institutional funding. Venture capital is an important source-industry for economic development, innovation and job creation.
By facilitating the capital necessary to bring bold ideals and visionary thinking to life, we are not only supporting made-in-Alberta innovation. We are creating a new-breed of knowledge-based jobs in Alberta’s cities and towns.
VC-backed companies have a higher survival rate, higher revenue and employment growth compared to their non-VC backed counterparts. A self-sustaining VC industry will result in a diversified, resilient economy, where Albertans will benefit from quality jobs, a high standard of living and a broad base of economic opportunities.
Alberta Enterprise manages the $175M Alberta Enterprise Fund (AEF). As our funds exit investments and return capital to us the AEF increases, and we re-invest this capital in new VC funds. For the latest figures, please click here.
Alberta Enterprise is managed under the supervision of our Board of Directors. The Board is accountable to the shareholder, the Minister of Economic Development and Trade in the manner set out in the Alberta Enterprise Corporation Act, Alberta Enterprise Corporation Regulation and the Alberta Enterprise Corporation Transfer Agreement.
Alberta Enterprise’s Board of Directors presently includes five external and independent members.
The Auditor General of Alberta, the Corporation’s external auditor appointed under the Auditor General Act, performs an annual independent audit of Alberta Enterprise’s financial statements.
What makes Alberta Enterprise unique is our investment model. Since our capital is invested, the Province benefits not only from the creation of a local VC industry with resident professionals who support the creation of a diversified economy, but also in the future return on our VC fund investments. This future return on investment will come back to the Government of Alberta and will remain within the province.
Alberta Enterprise targets three types of funds; funds that are local to Alberta, North American funds currently operating outside Alberta, and funds focused on early stage angel co-investments. Our portfolio contains all three types of funds.
Alberta technology companies need access to capital and resources to thrive and grow, and to be competitive with companies from around the globe. As we continue to invest in and build funds headquartered in Alberta, thereby fostering a self-sustainable VC industry, it is equally important to create additional access to capital and resources by bringing in funds from other regions. Funds operating from outside Alberta are required to open an office here and to review potential investments from across the province. In addition to capital, these funds also create connections and links to technology hubs across Canada, North America and around the world.
This three-pronged strategy has been successful, resulting in more capital into Alberta technology companies than invested by Alberta Enterprise.