Lambton County is helping Bio-industrial Innovation Canada secure $4.5 million in loans.
Executive Director Sandy Marshall came to County Council March 9, explaining the group which helps biochemical companies get off the ground was in a cash crunch.
Marshall says they have access to federal funding to help start up companies, such as Bio Amber and Greencore, but they have to match the funding. Right now, Marshall said, they don’t have that cash available.
So the organization approached the county to see if it would help secure a loan.
Marshall says companies like BioAmber and the proposed sugar beet factory have created up to 2,000 jobs in the region and the investment will pay off in jobs.
But some councillors were worried about making a risky investment. “The idea is great, but financially we need to look after the money of the residents of Lambton County,” says Brooke-Alvinston Mayor Don McGugan.
St. Clair Township Deputy Mayor Peter Gilliland worried the banks found the project too risky to invest in and Marshall agreed saying that is why they were looking for county council’s help.
“This is a bridge to get us through to the place where we can get the value out of our investments,” says Marshall.
Council approved loans of up to $4.5 million but to reduce the risk, the Bio-industrial Innovation will receive $1 million by March 31, then $1.5 million this summer and another $2 million next year.
County councillors will have to approve each additional investment.
would require the approval of Council prior to any funds being released