In praise of Canada’s venture capital markets

Canadians often find it difficult to recognize success, but when we have one, we need to shine a bright light on it.

At Capital Ideas, hosted by BC and the Alberta Securities Commission, we learned that Canada’s public venture capital market is recognized internationally as one of the best in the world.

Its no secret that small and medium-sized (SMEs) companies drive Canada’s economy and that they are a very important creator of new jobs.

As John McCoach, President of the TSX Venture Exchange, said, “Simply put, large established companies do not create their proportionate share of new jobs. Small and medium enterprises create new jobs and I think we all agree that we need to support them.”

He added that many stock exchanges around the world are trying to raise capital for small companies. In addition to Canada, the UK, South Africa, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan and the US all want to support what is called the “junior markets,” but few are as successful as Canada.

Why? Because we are fortunate enough to have a community made up of investment bankers, advisors, investors and regulators experienced in supporting early stage or start-up companies through our venture capital markets.

So let’s step back and examine why this market is so important to Canada and in particular, to BC and Alberta’s economies. Small business (companies with fewer than 50 employees or self employed) makes up 98 percent of all businesses in BC. They provide almost 57 percent of all of the private-sector jobs in British Columbia, the highest rate in the country. While the numbers are not quite as high in Alberta, small business is still a very significant component of its economy.

To be successful and to grow, small and medium sized businesses have to be able to raise capital. Since its inception in 1999, companies listed on the TSX Venture Exchange has raised over $52 billion to support this sector.

It is vital to our prosperity that we continue to nurture and support these early stage companies at a critical stage in their development. Having a well-regulated and robust public venture capital market is essential for our economic future.