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The Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) has adopted a new registration exemption for finders to help startups and other small businesses in the province raise capital, the regulator said in a release on Wednesday.

The small business finder’s exemption — proposed in March of this year by the ASC, and effective Nov. 10, 2021 until Nov. 11, 2024 — is intended to help small businesses use finders to raise money. Finders can be individuals or wholly owned companies owned by individuals, the regulator said in its notice, citing feedback it received from commenters.

The new rule replaces the so-called Northwestern exemption, providing a more targeted exemption from the dealer registration requirement for finders.

The new exemption also includes a number of conditions and better integrates with prospectus exemptions that small businesses in Alberta can rely on, the release said. And, it specifically targets businesses raising less than $5 million.

“This new exemption follows the self-certified investor prospectus exemption and the small business financing prospectus exemption we adopted to address challenges faced by small and early-stage business in accessing capital,” said Stan Magidson, chair and CEO of the ASC, in the release.

“We recognize that it can be very difficult to find a registered dealer that is willing to help raise money for financings under $5 million,” Magidson added, so this exemption “allows small businesses to use finders to help them identify potential investors, as long as they adhere to specific conditions.”