Stelmach announces $178 million plan for Alberta high-tech

alberta Premier Stelmach is making good on his promise to help invigorate Alberta’s technology industry. Today Stelmach officially announced a three-year, $178 million plan that includes research and development credits and a venture capital fund, among other things. The plan largely follows the recommendations made by a technology commercialization task force last spring.

"This generation of Albertans has a unique opportunity to build for tomorrow, and an important part of that must be ensuring that ideas and innovations developed in our province are commercialized in our province," Stelmach told a gathering of technology stakeholders at the Winspear Centre.

The plan focuses on four themes:

  1. Enhancing an already strong tax environment
  2. Inviting the world to invest
  3. Building your company and products
  4. Encouraging new technopreneurs

A brand new $100 million Alberta Enterprise Corporation will be setup later this year to attract venture capital. Addressing point 1, the R&D tax credit will be worth 10% of a company’s eligible expenditures up to $4 million (and the $178 million figure does not include the tax credits). Other funds will go toward business services, a fund for testing new products, and vouchers for development services.

I think most Albertans involved in technology would agree that the plan is long overdue. Our province’s economy is very much one based on energy, so anything that helps technology companies succeed should be welcomed with open arms. That said, this is very much a first step for Stelmach’s government. I hope there’s more to come in the not-to-distant future.

Check out Stephen King’s analysis of the 2008 Alberta Budget for more on the government’s technology initiatives.

You can read more about today’s announcement at the Edmonton Journal. The news release is available here (via Propel). For more information on the plan, visit http://www.technology.gov.ab.ca/.