3 Manitoba businesses get $4.5M boost through federal investment

Three businesses in Manitoba received a big boost on Saturday after the Government of Canada handed out a $4.5 million investment.

The companies received the financial support under the Western Innovation Initiative, a program providing $100 million in repayable contributions to small- and medium-sized companies in Western Canada.

“That’s how the good jobs for middle class Canadians and those working hard to join it will be created,” said federal Minister of Small Business and Tourism Bardish Chagger at the announcement in Winnipeg on Saturday.

Complex Games, which makes online games for mobile devices; Sightline Innovation, a machine-learning company; and GORP, an energy bar company, received the funding to push their products to broader markets.

“I was shocked. When they told me, I was speechless,” said Colleen Dyck, CEO of The Great GORP Project Inc.

“I was really honoured that they really saw the potential in my company.”

GORP received $77,500 to commercialize a ready-mix energy bar product and expand export sales to the United States. While the success of GORP energy bars continues, Dyck said she will always keep the company in Manitoba.

“This community has supported me in ways I can’t even explain,” she said.

Sightline Innovation began in Toronto but CEO Wallace Trenholm said the company moved its headquarters to Manitoba to take advantage of the province’s technology accelerator, a not-for-profit organization that supports technology start-ups. The company makes artificial intelligence of a number of markets.

“Resources that are being supplied through this program are absolutely critical in us transitioning into a full-scale company,” he said.

Sightline received $3.4 million to commercialize an advanced machine-learning quality-control product and optical sensor.

Trenholm said they’ve already hired more people and were able to push into the European market.