03/09/2017 11:30 EST

Feds, Big Banks Pin Economic Hopes On Small Business Fund Of Up To $1 Billion

The move is meant to invigorate the economy.

TORONTO — The federal government and Canada's big banks have announced a fund worth up to $1 billion over 10 years intended to help small- and medium-sized businesses access capital so they can expand operations.

The government and the banks say the pool of money would initially set aside more than $500 million for the first year, with the possibility of that doubling over the next nine years, depending on demand for investment and the fund's performance.

Minister of Finance Bill Morneau talks to reporters in the foyer of the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, March 7, 2017. (Photo: Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick)

The announcement follows a recommendation issued last month by a federal panel advising Finance Minister Bill Morneau on economic growth.

The need to help small- and medium-sized enterprises secure money to grow has become a growing topic of conversation in financial and political circles lately.

During a speech to the Canadian Club of Toronto last month, CIBC CEO Victor Dodig spoke of how such a fund would invigorate the economy.

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