To put it simply, at least for someone coming from Silicon Valley like myself, Quebec's Tech Week (Semaine Numérique in French), which is currently underway in the capital city of the French-Canadian province, is the South by Southwest (SXSW) of the North.
Despite below-freezing temperatures, over 25,000 people from around the globe are expected to attend the third edition of the 10-days long festival for the opportunity to network and learn about new technologies (artificial intelligence, virtual reality, IoT, robotic, blockchain, cryptocurrencies...).Read more
Desjardins Group's innovative Desjardins Capital SME fund will support the growth of SMEs across Quebec
QUÉBEC CITY, Oct. 26, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - "We've listened to our clients who want to diversify their investment portfolios. We've also listened to business leaders in Quebec who are looking for patient investors to ensure sustainability and ownership transfers, while protecting Quebec businesses," said Guy Cormier, President and CEO of Desjardins Group. "To meet these needs, two of our managers, Desjardins Private Wealth Management and Desjardins Capital, have joined forces to create the Desjardins Capital SME fund. Both partners are committed to an initial capitalization of at least $100 million/year. The new fund, which will be managed by Desjardins Capital, is just what our SMEs are asking for."Read more
Through concerted collaboration executed in a spirit of co-opetition, over the last three years 11 Canadian cities have executed seven joint Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) missions with the Federal government to 12 countries. These missions have resulted in 1,706 B2B meetings, 855 leads and 59 company visits. At an event last month hosted by the Toronto Region Board of Trade and attended by representatives of Chambers of Commerce and municipal economic development leaders from Canada's largest cities, attendees learned more about how to improve these numbers and accelerate leads to investment success.Read more
The first decade of the 21st Century was a good one in Quebec City. Home to the Quebec provincial government as well as thriving technology, research and creative sectors, the city region achieved one of the highest GDP growth rates in Canada (+24%) while unemployment fell from 9% in 2000 to 4.9% in 2013 and 73,000 jobs were created. Economic success was the product of business-government-university collaboration that stretched back into the Nineties, including a 1997 high-tech business summit leading to creation of a downtown tech district, a 1998 economic diversification strategy, and the birth, in 2003, of a regional economic development agency. Progress received a push forward from the 2002 amalgamation of 12 municipalities into an expanded City. Today, seven industries – including life sciences, ICT, value-added materials, transportation equipment, financial services, energy and tourism – generate 44% of the region’s $325bn in GDP.
Building a Skilled Labor Force
In the century’s second decade, Quebec City is challenged to head off growing labor shortages in these fields and to boost the rate of commercialization of the innovations emerging from public and private R&D spending. It has also targeted the digital divide that affects almost one in five residents. To build its skilled labor force, Quebec City and financial partners are investing over $4 million in such initiatives as “It’s Cool to Stay in School,” which encourages students to finish high school and explore science and technology careers. Young people are exposed to companies, workshops, internships and mentoring to motivate their involvement in the digital economy. The Quebec International agency provides online marketing to potential immigrants and programs that facilitate their application for residency and integration into the economy.
City government supports technology entrepreneurship with scholarship programs, a public-private crowdfunding initiative, and innovation events that involve startups and organizations in tackling business and public-sector problems. The city is also the recipient of a Smarter Cities Challenge grant from IBM that aims to reduce the “digital divide population” by 4% through 2016. Meanwhile, the nonprofit ZAP Quebec continues to expand a city-wide set of 500 WiFi hotspots that complement the 98% broadband availability provided by the private sector. With this range of programs, Quebec City hopes to ensure that its story of growth continues into the next decade.
In the News
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Quebec City was featured in the Intelligent Community Forum book Seizing Our Destiny.
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