Innovation in the service of sustainable development

By Alain Tittley
Special cooperation

Montreal currently has 1,300 startups in its territory. They form a real labor economic force, benefiting from the support of networking activities in established companies. See a win-win proposition.

In life as in business, ambition and experience go hand in hand. In this sense that the Open the Innovation Grant Program of the City of Montréal was created, in partnership with the Government of Quebec, to promote collaboration between emerging companies and partner organizations that have fully proven themselves. The goal? Stimulate the commercialization of innovations that address an urban development or ecological transition issue, promoting the emergence of a greener economy and contributing to improving the quality of life of Montrealers.

This pairing allows start-ups in particular to get the first client and benefit from technical and financial support while gaining access to an expanded business network. The well-established partner organization benefits from access to innovative solutions while developing its business agility.

The reflex Get started
As Simon Décary, Commissioner for Economic Development at the City of Montreal points out, the initiative was launched in the fall of 2020 amid a pandemic, a context that has proven in favor of change. “The Open the Innovation Grant Program aims to stimulate the emergence in the territory of Montreal of innovations that will have a positive impact on the lives of citizens, with the aim of sustainable development. At the same time, we want to make sure that large companies have a reflex Get started by finding solutions from very agile small local businesses that can respond quickly and adequately to their needs. ”

This mutual assistance approach, as we know, has proven its value here and around the world, as it helps give participating companies a competitive advantage. As proof, two examples of successful networking that have resulted in tangible benefits for the twin companies and for the Montreal community.

Quebec Basket x Montreal Public Markets
As part of her Open Innovation Grant Program, the City of Montréal has awarded a grant to startup Panier Québécois, which essentially offers online grocery services, to establish a network in the Jean-Talon market. The result? The emerging company has developed a commercial platform where customers can order, pick up or have fresh produce delivered from the market. An initiative that has been a great success, as it has helped make Montrealers more accessible to local food.

“At COVID, we thought about the best way to reach consumers who don’t want to go to the place to buy,” explains Nicolas Fabien-Ouellet, general manager of Montreal Public Markets. Through a partnership with Panier Québécois, we had of access to a turnkey solution. ” In the process, the Jean-Talon market has also been able to strengthen its image, support its producers, combat food deserts by facilitating access to fresh quality products and actively participating in ecological transition. “This network together with Panier Québécois contributes to reducing our ecological footprint because many deliveries are made by cargo bike”, specified the general manager.

The start-up, in part, had access to a large concentration of potential suppliers, such as market gardeners of the Jean-Talon market, while benefiting from operational support and having space dedicated to the preparation of orders and delivery management. “Our goal is to offer Montrealers a sustainable alternative to consumption,” explains Thomas Lemoine, co-founder of Le Panier Québécois. All of our products are fresh every day and come from the next door, because we are lucky to be located one hundred meters from our suppliers. For us, the network with the Jean-Talon market is really very positive, because it allowed us to benefit from the popularity of the public market, its product expertise and the contribution of Quebec producers. The City of Montreal has allowed us to truly invest in the marketing of our service. “

Note that this association has allowed start-ups to go from approximately forty weekly orders to 1,500 monthly orders. “PME MTL has also given us a lot of help, which means we are fortunate to be very well supported in this adventure,” Thomas Lemoine concluded.

Locketgo x Decathlon
The health crisis has pushed the business community to begin a major process of re-invention. The same is true for Locketgo, a Get started innovative, agile and proactive offering solutions and infrastructure to ensure optimal collection of parcels in urban areas. “Before the pandemic, we were 100% in the middle of festivals, events and shows, explains founder Gabrielle Larue. When the crisis came, we took the opportunity to pivot to develop new markets. The network with Big companies like Decathlon have given us a real kick-off.

Locketgo electronic locker is designed to automate the receipt or return of packages. They are mainly installed in common areas of residential or commercial buildings, where the continued growth of transmission during a pandemic has posed many challenges. By integrating the cloud-based platform with the network of smart lockers, the start-up has developed a process for delivering or returning products to multiple customers, using secure and easily accessible equipment. A step forward made possible by a grant awarded by the City of Montreal as part of Open Innovation Grant Program, to support a networking project with sporting goods retailer Decathlon.

“As happened to many companies during the incarceration, online commerce exploded on us,” explains Pierre Kempa, commercial director of Decathlon Canada. We had to find solutions to satisfy customers and deliver our products efficiently. faster.Connecting to Locketgo allows us to offer new delivery or return options for online orders that are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

As for Locketgo, there are many benefits: let’s mention, among other things, the development of an easy -to -use solution for all parties involved, whether companies or users, the reduction of GHG production associated with last mile delivery and the development of a unique business model. The result: positioning as a leader in the retail industry. “Locketgo aims to be the largest smart locker company in North America,” said Gabrielle Larue. We want to build the largest network of connected boxes in an urban environment, and we’re starting in the Montreal territory with the Decathlon. It’s a perfect mesh. ”

An open and accessible initiative
The Open Innovation Grant Program of the City of Montreal is a simple and effective solution that allows large companies to outsource innovation and stay agile through partnerships that benefit both sides. In other words, despite the crisis, this initiative allows us to witness a massive cross-fertilization of skills that bring great business success. And everyone seems to be finding their account, especially the young shooters who think big!

This program became possible thanks to the cooperation of the Government of Quebec.

To learn more about Open the Innovation Grant Program of the City of Montreal, click here.
The Economic Development Department of the City of Montreal integrates and supports Montreal businesses in their business projects. It works with ecosystem partners to accelerate the city’s economy through a strategy of sustainability, innovation and inclusion.

This content was produced by Le Devoir’s special publications team in collaboration with the advertiser. Le Devoir’s editorial team had no role in producing this content.

Leave a Comment