Is there a startup ecosystem in Quebec? | Isarta Info

September 23, 2020

The Mouvement des accelerateurs d’innovation du Québec announces its first “Overview of the ecosystem Get started of Quebec. Here are the highlights.

In the coming years, efforts to build and define a single ecosystem will be crucial to maximizing the chances of success of startups Quebecers.

These efforts should focus on connections between key centers and regions. This is one of the findings of the first “Ecosystem Overview Get started du Québec “, presented by the Mouvement des accelerateurs d’innovation du Québec (MAIN Québec).

With the jobs and wealth it generates, entrepreneurship is one of the pillars of Quebec’s economy. Across Quebec, many of us strive to create innovative businesses to advance economic development in the region. A picture of this rich Quebec ecosystem appears to be a need to fully understand their realities and their needs, as well as each of the stakeholders in the area, ”declared Marie-Eve Proulx, Minister for Regional Economic Development and Minister responsible for the regions.Chaudière-Appalaches, Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie – Îles-de-la-Madeleine.

This first overview aims to lay the foundations of a multi-year research project led by MAIN in close collaboration with the University of Sherbrooke as well as researchers and students from ESG-UQAM and HEC Montréal . Other universities will be added in the coming weeks.

If there’s one thing we’re going to take away from this investigative practice, it’s that it’s not yet an ecosystem. Get started unified in Quebec. Many cities or regions rely on dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystems and they have even developed great networks. Get started. However, the links between these networks are very weak. We’ve seen this over the past few months; ang startups is elastic. They are agile, innovative. They have the potential to be the center of Québec’s economic recovery and development. But we need to do more to make sure each of them has access to the best support, innovation support and financing resources, wherever they are in the territory, when they need them ”, said Louis- Félix Binette, General Manager of MAIN.

What are the key points to keep in mind?

Here is what we can learn from this first report:

1. A lack of unified meaning

One of the difficulties addressed in the report is the notion of even defining what a startup is. The study is based on three main characteristics: young companies – innovative – have strong growth potential.

Despite all this, shared knowledge and common language within the Quebec startup ecosystem remain limited. In doing so, it is currently not possible to accurately determine the number of startups in Quebec.

Entrepreneurship in startup mode is not yet considered as a culture and a structure in its own right everywhere in Quebec. For example, outside of major city centers, start-up is sometimes understood as any start-up business, ”the report states.

Note that Bonjour Startup Montréal estimates the metropolitan ecosystem at 1,300 startups.

2. Crisis is synonymous with opportunities

Despite the challenges and needs identified, startups demonstrate their resilience, their flexibility and change as well as their optimism. We found that 64% have changed their business priorities since the crisis and 38% have even changed their permanent business model!

3. Which socio-demographic characteristics?

So far, the report emphasizes that, for the first time in the history of the Quebec Entrepreneurial Index, entrepreneurship represents the first career choice within the three major age groups of Quebec’s active population. What the numbers confirm: the number of Canadians under the age of 35 starting a business rose 80% between 2014 and 2018.

For the profile of the founders, we must base ourselves on Montreal data. In this case:

  • 64% of startups have more than one founder
  • More than 73% of the founders are over 30 years old
  • 34% of founders were born outside Quebec and 57% of startups have at least one co-founder born outside Quebec
  • Startup CEOs are highly educated: 80% of CEOs have a bachelor’s degree and 59% have a graduate degree and higher.
  • Women represent only 15% of the total number of founders in Montreal. In Quebec as a whole, 24% of the 1,881 startups supported by the 67 organizations surveyed were founded by at least one woman (Main, 2020).

For comparison, worldwide, according to a recent Crunchbase report, 20% of companies closing the first round of venture capital funding in 2019 were co-founded by at least one woman.

The under-representation of women in creating innovative businesses with high growth potential finds its origin in the upstream in particular, during training mainly in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), trying to explain the report.

Two surveys, one centered in Montreal and the other across the province, identify the main sources of funding for startups.

The stage of commercialization of startups is also an indicator of their financial situation.

It seems like an abundance of information, a lot buzzwords and expertise around the subject of startups and the ecosystem. But if we look, we know nothing about each other. We study ourselves a little and increasingly not deeply. Just take the example of knowledge institutions; we know very well that they have a strategic role to play for the growth and success of startups, but more than the number of establishments, having strong relationships has an impact. We need to stop counting to better capture complexity and knowledge, ”finally concludes Valérie Grandbois, PhD student in business administration, culture startups, at Sherbrooke University and lead author of Ecosystem Overview Get started of Quebec.

Since this is only the first phase of the research project, MAIN plans to look at various aspects of the ecosystem in the near future. Get started with the:

  • The financing of startups
  • The role of governments and public policy in the ecosystemGet started
  • The social and environmental impact of startups
  • Collaboration, connection and mobility within the ecosystem
  • The characteristics of the founders of startups (e.g. mental health, socio-demographic profiles, etc.)

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