It’s not just big companies in Montreal; many start-ups and SMEs are also active in the metropolitan area. They face challenges in growth, talent retention and internationalization, but they can rely on a strong network and more resources.
Posted on Nov 11, 2019
PME MTL supports SMEs in emerging industries. PME MTL Grand Sud-Ouest general manager, Marie-Claude Dauray, says the context is favorable for Montreal so far. “All the tools are there, like new funds, marketing help, new experts as well. We have a way to raise the game. There is real enthusiasm for entrepreneurship in Montreal.»
According to him, the metropolis has a strong ecosystem, where incubators work in a network with accelerators and universities.
A power of magnetism
Competition is fierce between the world’s ecosystems. Montreal is still able to hold its own.
“Montreal is a university town. Because talent is important, it’s a treasure that can be promoted. The city is also a gateway to North America for foreign entrepreneurs. Our half-European, half-American character does. “One is ambitious without pretense and this quality is valued by many. The lifestyle is also suitable for the founders of start-ups,” said Liette Lamonde, co-founder of Bonjour Startup Montréal and general manager of Montréal Inc.
The expert believes that growth is one of the biggest challenges for young companies. “We have a great pool of start-ups. Now we need to take them to another level, help them have more income and create more jobs.»
The solution often involves exports, one of the weaknesses of start-ups here, according to Liette Lamonde.
Montreal’s ecosystem is less efficient than its peers in terms of internationalization. Why? We don’t have all the answers yet. By comparison, Stockholm, which is also a small market, looks very out of place. This is a natural reflex for this country of conquerors, a reflex that we lack.
Liette Lamonde, co-founder of Bonjour Startup Montréal and general manager of Montréal Inc.
MissFresh has grown rapidly, from 5 employees in 2015 to 275 today. The company offering ready-to-cook food boxes is faced with the headache of worker retention. “Many companies are experiencing labor shortages,” explains its co-founder and CEO, Marie Eve Prevost. So we must develop an attractive culture to preserve our talents. When you grow at this speed, it is costly if there is too much turnover. »
Marie Eve Prevost observed that the network has grown significantly in a short time. “When we reviewed our business plan, I felt that there weren’t many resources available. Four years later, the number of incubators and programs to help entrepreneurs is still unbelievable. I was approached today for mentoring. I think it is good. »
The observation was shared by Jean-François Lalonde, general manager of PME MTL Center-Est. “Since 2015, a synergy has been created. We are still seeing this at the college level, where stakeholders are growing. Establishing a continuum of services ensures that the propulsion of new businesses is optimized. »
Seedlings in number
Montreal has 1,300 start-ups.
There are more than 2,800 founders of young shoots in the metropolis.
Montreal’s start-up ecosystem is ranked 34that ranking of the Global Startup Ecosystem Report in 2019.
Montreal’s ecosystem ranks third in the aerospace sector, after Seattle and Toulouse.
68% of start-ups in Montreal employ between one and nine people.
Sources: Portrait of the Montreal startup ecosystem (Bonjour Startup Montreal) and Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2019 (Startup Genome)