DIEPPE (GNB) – The New Brunswick government is increasing financial assistance for small- and medium-size businesses to create jobs.

"Encouraging the growth of small- and medium-sized businesses is a key element in our government's plan to generate jobs and rebuild our economy," said Premier David Alward.

Alward and Economic Development Minister Paul Robichaud made the announcement before a group of small- and medium-size entrepreneurs in Dieppe today.

Replacing the former Technology Adoption and Commercialization Program, the INNOV8 program provides up to $50,000 per project to support New Brunswick companies to become more innovative, to become more competitive and to build export capacity.

INNOV8 focuses on six sectors:

●    aerospace and defence;
●    biosciences;
●    industrial fabrication;
●    information and communications technology;
●    value-added food, and;
●    value-added wood.

The New Brunswick Growth Program is designed to help small businesses create sustainable employment opportunities by financially stimulating them to pursue opportunities within targeted sectors of the economy.

The program is also designed to stimulate capital investment for small business start-up, expansion, diversification, innovation and productivity improvement.

The program provides up to $100,000 for new start-ups and up to $60,000 for an existing business.

Replacing the former Trade Assistance Program, the Export Development Program supports registered New Brunswick export and develop new markets outside the Maritime provinces. Financial assistance is for these companies that process, manufacture or produce an exportable product, service, technology or intellectual property of a business-to-business nature.

Assistance is available for up to 50 per cent of eligible costs associated with market reconnaissance, trade shows, business conferences, outbound missions, market planning, marketing campaigns, export marketing, matchmaking and lead generation, translation and interpretation, international business training, product and service adaptations to meet international requirements, and business development visits. Up to $20,000 per project is available.

All three economic development programs will be delivered through the Department of Economic Development's 12 recently opened offices located throughout the province.

"These funding programs will allow staff in the regions to work with small- and medium-sized businesses to pursue strategic opportunities," said Robichaud. "This new approach sees our government reducing red tape, as regional directors will be able to approve projects under these three funds. This approach will allow entrepreneurs quick and efficient access to funding programs as we decentralize decision-making for programs and funding for small- and medium-sized businesses."

The Department of Economic Development recently opened district offices in Bathurst, Dieppe, Edmundston, Fredericton and Saint John and satellite offices in Bouctouche, Campbellton, Miramichi, Shippagan, St. Stephen, Sussex and Woodstock.