The province is partnering with a national venture capital management company to help an innovative design and manufacturing company build a better box. Premier Rodney MacDonald announced today, July 9, a $1.2 million loan to help Protocase Incorporated expand its technology-based operations and create up to 139 new jobs over the next five years. The province is partnering with GrowthWorks, one of Canada’s leading retail venture capital fund managers, on the $2.65 million project. Sydney-based, Protocase specializes in the design and manufacture of high-quality customized metal enclosures and mounting fixtures for the electronics industry. The company has a three-day turnaround from design to finished project, which is unique to the industry. Export sales account for over 90 per cent of their revenues. “Protocase is the perfect example of the ingenuity and creativity that can flourish in the right business climate,” said Premier MacDonald. “The province is proud to help this company realize their full potential as they succeed in helping us create a new Nova Scotia.” Following six years of strong sales, Protocase now needs a larger facility to meet customer demand. The company is undergoing a $2.6-million expansion with the construction of a 900 sq. metre (10,000 sq. foot) building. The company is considering various sites in the Sydney area. “Protocase has found very solid and willing partners in the provincial government and GrowthWorks Canada that will allow us to rapidly expand our base of over 1,000 customers,” said Steve Lilley, president of Protocase Inc. “We are excited to showcase the innovative nature of Cape Breton’s economy. Together, we are turning the corner and heading for a prosperous Nova Scotia built and owned by Nova Scotians.” Economic Development Minister Richard Hurlburt said the company is now poised for even greater growth and job creation in the coming years. “Protocase has taken a relatively simple concept and, through innovation and hard work, redefined their industry,” said Mr. Hurlburt. “Their approach to business and superior customer service has paid off.” GrowthWorks has invested $1.1 million in Protocase through its managed fund. “As an active investor in Atlantic Canadian companies, we are very pleased to invest in Protocase,” said Thomas Hayes, president and CEO of GrowthWorks Atlantic Venture Fund. “Protocase is an excellent example of the types of innovative companies and experienced entrepreneurs ripe for investment opportunities here in Atlantic Canada.” Since 2001, Protocase has provided its customers with quality products manufactured to precise design specifications. In 2005, the company designed and released Protocase Designer, a free downloadable enclosure design software tool. It allows clients without 3D modelling experience to design custom enclosures from a design template. The expansion will help the company become more globally competitive and attract new business. The investment will be used for sales and marketing initiatives, research and development as well as working capital. The province’s $1.2 million loan is provided through the Industrial Expansion fund and is repayable over ten years. The fund offers a variety of financial assistance to help the province’s economy. Over the past two years, it has helped create or maintain more than 3,000 jobs in the province and has a return on investment of three dollars for every dollar spent.