The C factor for “community”

Point of view published in the Spring 2019 edition of Management

Géraldine Martin is Director of Entrepreneurship in the Economic Development Department of the City of Montreal.

He got on stage jumping for joy. He hadn’t even opened his mouth when the room could feel all his longing for victory. Imagine when he started his speech! It was a burst of emotion that passed through 400 guests at the 28th Innovation Awards Gala of the Association for the Development of Research and Innovation in Quebec, which took place on November 22 at the Palais des Montreal Congress.

“There are some love money ; we need community of love ! he was launched into the occupied room.

She is Isabelle Lopez, founder of the young company My Smart Journey, winner of the start-up company award. He then recounted his adventure within the Montreal incubators: “They pushed me”, he explains, referring to the strength of the community within MT Lab and Centech, an incubator and a business accelerator both based in Montreal.

“It takes a village to succeed,” he concludes, taking the point of view of Brad Feld, an American investor, businessman and author who notably published the book Startup Communities – Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in 2012. According to him, the success of new businesses depends largely on mutual assistance and exchange of information between entrepreneurs. Like metropolises, communities of start-ups may appear in smaller communities, he says: “Communities of start-ups can be built in cities with 50,000 or more inhabitants. »

The level of funding is also not a guarantee of success, underline the Startup Genome, which measures the performance of ecosystems start-ups in 55 cities around the world. According to this American organization, funding is relatively well distributed from one city to another. However, some ecosystems – the city of Stockholm, for example – perform better than others. Why? It all depends on the latitude of the entrepreneurs and the dynamics of the ecosystem.

ALSO READ: “Put community into your start-up … from the concept of your project”

Still according to the Startup Genome, one of the keys to success lies in so -called “local connectivity”, which is measured according to three main criteria:

1- Mutual aid to entrepreneurs (in other words, you need to know how to give without expecting any replacement);

2- Friendly relationships and the stability of the network;

3- The probabilities of “collisions”, i.e., the number of activities organized by and for start-ups which promotes knowledge sharing.

The result is clear: start-ups with a high local connection rate grows twice as fast than start-ups with a lower connection rate, ”says Startup Genome.

How about Montreal? There is no doubt that longing and intention are many there. According to Photo of the entrepreneurial dynamism of Montreal 2017, 26% of Montrealers would consider going into business. However, Montreal is still below the average of the other cities assessed of the Startup Genome: Montreal startups are under-engaged and under-trending to share their knowledge and help each other start-ups better ecosystem. To improve, there is no recipe miracle: the whole ecosystem should roll up their sleeves. Entrepreneurs must pass more time to get to know others traders to send and receive information. Of their sides, supporting organizations in entrepreneurship must organize more meetings for to promote the exchange between contractors. But beware: these meetings must be thorough combine entrepreneurs.

Even when we first talked start-ups From the beginning of this column, the reasoning around the notion of community is just as valid for companies that have long been established. “Collisions” should not be limited to the ecosystem start-ups : this should happen at all stages of business growth. In fact, a sense of community must exist in every link in the entrepreneurial chain. According to Nathaly Riverin, founder of the firm Rouge Canari and co-founder of the École d’entrepreneurship de Beauce, “the entrepreneurial community ensures that individuals, intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs benefit from an environment of development, education, training, consulting, support and financing to make themselves more effective in creating their new activity ”.

READ ALSO: “Incubators and accelerators: how to break down barriers between large companies and entrepreneurial communities”

Finally, this reasoning around the community is based on the principle that the entrepreneur is influenced by everything around him, which reminds business families that are made up of entrepreneurs from one generation to another. . “This notion of community may seem like a natural extension of the family business concept,” the 2018 Québec Entrepreneurial Index said. beneficiaries with such a background (32.2%) were clearly higher than those without a family background. entrepreneurship (16.5%). In addition, projects of entrepreneurs who have benefited from family experience are generally more ambitious and more internationally focused.

In this context, let’s imagine that the family is growing, that our entire community – and not just business families – is constantly exposed to a strong entrepreneurial culture … There is no doubt about the result!

In collaboration with Amélie Desrochers, consultant, strategy and marketing

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