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IW Business Bulletin – October 7, 2022

WBM Technologies

Westcap invests in WBM Technologies

Saskatoon-based Westcap Mgt. Ltd.  (Westcap) announced on Oct. 4 that it has invested into WBM Technologies LP (WBM). The transaction was completed with Westcap’s Golden Opportunities Fund Inc. and Westcap MBO III Investment LP, Westcap’s third private equity fund.

WBM, one of Canada’s top IT services providers, has locations in Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Calgary, and Vancouver and employs 450 people. The company will use the investment to grow its business further.

“We are pleased to invest in WBM and be part of the company’s exciting future given the critically important role that technology is now playing in every organization and industry sector worldwide. The company’s exceptional reputation, customer service and culture has made it a successful leader and community partner in the industry. We look forward to bringing our portfolio partners and stakeholders to support WBM’s continued growth,” said Jamie Schwitzer, chief investment officer, Westcap.

Both JoeAnne Hardy, WBM’s president and Brett Bailey, WBM vice president will retain their ownership and leadership roles. WBM vice president Bob Hardy will retire after a successful 32-year career with the company.

“We couldn’t be more excited about this announcement, which to us represents an important next step in our journey,” said WBM President JoeAnne Hardy.  “It was critically important that we select a partner who shared and respected our values and was committed to seeing us move forward on our growth plan. We are thrilled to be moving forward in partnership with Westcap.  Empowered by their expertise and willingness to invest in further growth and success, now more than ever our focus can be on continuing to deliver around the commitments and expectations that our customers, our people and their families, our communities, and our technology partners have for us, all toward achieving our goal of being the best managed technology services provider in Western Canada.”

PrairiesCan announces funding for Global Institute for Food Security and opens new service location in Prince Albert

PrairiesCan Minister Dan Vandal announced $2.5 million in funding for the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) on Oct. 7.

The funds will be used to help build Canada’s only biomanufacturing facility for sustainable agriculture and food ingredients.

“Supporting the creation of an agri-food hub in Saskatchewan and building on the already strong research and development being done at GIFS and USask strengthens Canada’s position as a global leader in the agri-food industry. Our government knows of the immense potential in Saskatchewan to meet the growing global demand for food products, and whenever we see an opportunity to partner with this sector to help reach its goals, we will be there,” said Vandal.

The investment, from PrairiesCan’s Regional Innovation Ecosystems (RIE) program, is helping create an agri-food hub and network of biomanufacturing centres in Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan.

“Adhering to the ‘A, B, C’s’ of biomanufacturing – automation and miniaturization, biology, and computation – this unique technology platform helps reduce the time it takes to trial innovative solutions and get them to market. Once online, the platform will decrease the room for error through automating lab processes, boast a deep understanding of biological structures and processes, and add powerful computing solutions, like artificial intelligence, to rapidly scale up the design and production of more nutritious and sustainable crops and food products,” said Dr. Steve Webb, CEO of GIFS.

The same day, PrairiesCan unveiled its new service location in Prince Albert, along with $1.74 million in funding for two local projects. Prince Albert’s Little Red River Park received funding to improve accessibility, and $1.6 million was provided to Rise Air to increase air service to the north.

Saskatchewan has lowest unemployment rate in Canada

Job numbers reported this week by Statistics Canada revealed that Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate for September was 4.1 per cent, the lowest among the provinces and down from 4.9 per cent in August.

The province also added 6,000 new jobs from the same time last year, and all were full-time. Last month, full-time employment increased by 9,100 jobs (up 2.0 per cent) and part-time decreased by 3,100 jobs (down 2.8 per cent) compared to September 2021.

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