At BIO 2023, the international biosciences industry conference in Boston, which hosted more than 20,000 registrants from 73 countries, Bioscience Association Manitoba (BAM) joined the Province of Manitoba in announcing a clear vision for Manitoba’s bioscience sector in a strategy, entitled The Manitoba Life Sciences Strategy.
The strategy outlines how the sector and the government can work together to overcome barriers to growth and continue to grow the economy. It was designed to capitalize on the proven strengths that have made Manitoba an established industry leader and exporter, and focuses on five priorities:
- Strong public-private partnerships: taking time to strengthen new and existing partnerships to help grow the economy.
- A future-ready skills and talent infrastructure: ensuring that Manitoba maintains its competitive edge within the economy by continuing to offer workforce development training to students in key provincial sectors.
- Data and analytics excellence: increasing the ability of Manitoba’s data-collecting capabilities to continue to support how government and industry make decisions.
- World-class research and innovation: continuing to support and enhance visibility of Manitoba’s extensive and world-class research institutions to help advance health care and global health science.
- Increasing access to capital: expanding access to growth capital for start-ups, small businesses and emerging companies in Manitoba.
Bioscience refers to any area of scientific study about living things; including life science, environmental science, biological science and botany. This sector is one of growth and economic performance and development in Manitoba, and with this strategy, Manitoba can capitalize on the work of the existing bioscience community.
Manitoba’s bioscience sector is one of the largest contributors to the provincial economy, with 2021 revenues exceeding $9.9 billion and employing more than 14,000 Manitobans. Manitoba is the second-largest pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturer in Canada, and medicaments are the province’s top export.
“The biosciences make extraordinary contributions to every aspect of our society and this new strategy recognizes just how vital this sector is to both our economy and our quality of life,” said Economic Development, Investment and Trade Minister Jeff Wharton.
The Manitoba government provides a number of programs and services to advance the bioscience industry in the province including:
- Seed capital investment of $100 million in the Manitoba First Fund, an independent fund that helps Manitoba-focused businesses grow and thrive by leveraging private investment capital to substantially expand the breadth of financing options for companies in Manitoba;
- Various funding opportunities for research and development including grants, tax credits and incentives such as the Manitoba Research and Development tax credit, the Innovation Proof of Concept grant and the Innovation Growth Program;
- Programs to support business expansion and company relocation to Manitoba including the Industry Expansion Program, Manitoba Works Capital Incentive and the Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit; and
- Manitoba’s Business Navigation Services, which provide direct supports to businesses of all sizes looking to start, expand or invest in Manitoba.
Co-developed by the Manitoba government and BAM and informed by consultation with the province’s biotech community, this strategy is a testament to the province’s commitment to advancing innovation and economic prosperity.
“Manitoba is aiming to build on its existing sector strengths in areas such as health biotech, ag biotech and clean biotech while also fostering collaboration between industry, government, and academic institutions to create a thriving bioeconomy,” said Kim Kline, BAM President. “The strategy includes investments in infrastructure, research and development, and talent development to ensure that the province continues to have the necessary resources and expertise to support the growth of this sector. Overall, we believe that the strategy has the potential to be transformative for the province’s economy and position Manitoba as a leader in this vital and growing industry.”