Three Greater Victoria businesses looking to expand their markets got a boost with a combined $3.25 million in federal funding on Wednesday (July 20).
Harjit Sajjan, minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan) was in Langford to announce the funding for DeeBee’s Organics ($1.4 million), Codename Entertainment ($1.35 million) and Peloton Technologies ($500,000).
The money comes from PacifiCan – a new government agency started last year focusing on boosting economic development in B.C. – and its Business Scale-up and Productivity program, which is aimed at boosting new companies to help them expand and reach international markets.
“Even when you have some really good products, it’s not easy to get it up onto the market,” Sajjan said.
DeeBee’s is an organics food company that makes freezies with natural fruit flavouring. Sajjan remembered giving themt to his own kids years ago when the business was getting started.
“I remember the kids were having freezies – my wife wasn’t there – and they were saying, ‘Mom, let us have these. And I said, ‘There’s no way your mom lets you eat sugar.’ And my wife told me, ‘No, these are real fruit’… So thank you for that.”
The company is set to use the funding to develop three new products and market their existing lines internationally, with 20 new jobs and tens of millions in revenue growth.
“The beginning was really hard. I shed a lot of tears,” recalled Dionne Laslo-Baker, DeeBee’s founder/CEO.
“It was really scary, because you put everything in and I remember the day that we were in a store in Victoria and I couldn’t afford the groceries and my kids had to help. Because it was that tough, and everything was in and it’s exciting to be at a place where this year we’ll have made about 100 million tubes of freezies.”
Codename, the Victoria-based video game studio, is set to use the funding to translate its game “Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms” into 10 more languages. The company expects to increase its workforce by 25 per cent and hopes to generate millions of dollars in additional sales.
Peloton Technologies has developed a cloud-based payment platform that allows their customers to consolidate all banking and payment activity into a single portal. The federal funding will go towards garnering new customers, with the company expecting to create 12 new jobs and millions in revenue as a result.