5 Questions with PrairiesCan

Who is PrairiesCan?

PrairiesCan is the federal regional development agency that helps diversify the economy across Canada’s Prairies. PrairiesCan leads in building a strong, competitive Canadian economy by supporting business, innovation and community economic development in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. With a singular focus on Prairie interests, PrairiesCan acts to support and grow regional economies and communities with the unique needs and nuances of the Prairie Provinces built into everything they do. 

While the PrairiesCan name is new, the agency has over 30 years of experience in economic development. In 2021, the Government of Canada acted to recognize the specific needs of the Prairies and British Columbia by creating two new stand-alone agencies out of Western Economic Diversification Canada. PrairiesCan is building on that legacy with a new vision to be a leader in creating a more diversified economy for Prairies communities and supporting strong, competitive, and innovative businesses. 

What does PrairiesCan do?

PrairiesCan supports economic growth and diversification in the Prairie Provinces. The agency advances the interests of our region’s national economic policy, programs, and projects through four key roles: 

• as investor by creating jobs and growth through strategic investments and targeted initiatives; 

• as convenor by connecting economic actors to support collaboration and growth; 

• as advisor by informing economic decision-making and advocating for Prairie interests; and,

• as pathfinder by helping people navigate federal economic programs and services. 

How does PrairiesCan work with industry?

PrairiesCan’s approach is to work alongside you, supporting your needs. When the pandemic threatened small and medium enterprises, PrairiesCan pivoted to provide direct support so they could pay bills and keep employees on the payroll. As Canadians now navigate the road to recovery, PrairiesCan maintains relationships with clients and partners, such as the Western Canada Business Service Network, to deliver initiatives that help businesses scale-up and support regional innovation and economic growth.

PrairiesCan core programs, such as the Business Scale-up Program (BSP) and the Regional Innovation Ecosystems (RIE), are strategic ways of supporting high-growth businesses that are seeking to improve productivity scale-up and commercialize technology by offering interest-free, repayable funding to eligible incorporated businesses. 

What are some examples of PrairiesCan’s experience with the manufacturing sector?

PrairiesCan is no stranger to the manufacturing sector. Strategic investments have made a difference for a range of companies across the Prairies, including:

• LyteHorse Labs Inc. – Regina, Saskatchewan

o Through the Jobs and Growth Fund, received funding to commence and scale-up production of its electric all-terrain utility vehicle. Funding supported Lytehorse to add almost 40 new employees and sell over 1,300 units over the length of the project, bringing $28 million in revenue to the province by March 2024. 

• Diemo Machine Works Inc. in Okno, Manitoba

o Through the BSP program received funds to support the integration of advanced technologies like fibre laser cutting equipment and a robotic welding cell, making it possible for Diemo to expand manufacturing capacity and improve competitiveness in the machinery manufacturing market. This expansion has meant that Diemo has been able to take on more and bigger jobs, resulting in significant export and job growth. 

• ECLabs, in Edmonton, Alberta

o Funds from the BSP program helped to launch and scale up manufacturing capacity. In addition, funds through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, PrairiesCan also invested to support certification and access to export markets. A leader in personal care products manufacturing, ECLabs has become one of only a few certified cosmetics and formulation-manufacturing firms in North America. 

In partnership with industry, PrairiesCan strives to create the right conditions for businesses to succeed and for people from our communities to find the types of jobs they can count on to support their families.

How can a manufacturer work with PrairiesCan?

If you are wondering about working with PrairiesCan, here are some questions you should consider:

• Are you a high growth business that is scaling up and producing innovative goods, services or technologies? 

• Are you all about inclusivity and building a stronger Canada? 

• Do you plan to create jobs and support the long-term growth of your community? 

• Do you need help to accelerate your growth goals and become more productive?

With the world facing many new challenges as we continue to recover from the pandemic, businesses, manufacturers, and communities across the Prairies can benefit from some support to help them become more competitive, thrive, grow and contribute to Canada’s economic growth. In addition, PrairiesCan could help offer your firm the support it needs to innovate and grow. 

PrairiesCan is easy to find, with a local presence in each of the Prairie Provinces, and more locations opening this fall and winter. For information on your local office and other available business support, please visit prairiescan.gc.ca or call 1.888.338.9378.