seven tips from a local Frenchman, Internationalize and export

In Eliot Jacquin’s voice, Southwestern intonations are obscured under a Quebec accent. Three years ago, in his first participation in North America’s major French-speaking digital gathering, the WAQ (Web in Quebec), this young co-founder of Bordeaux start-up 10h11 met Carl-Frédéric Decelles, co-founder of the Quebec web studio iXmédia, and president of WAQ. A decisive meeting! “Eliot’s specialty, data visualization, doesn’t exist in Quebec, said Carl-Frédéric Decelles. However, it interests many of my clients: it’s a place that promises to be promising here. I suggested to Eliot to go and live in Quebec and develop his activity there. »

Quebec, a small village with great opportunities

The young Bordelais need not say twice. He crosses the Atlantic and creates in Belle Province “04h11”. The agency now employs four people in Quebec City, including Eliot Jacquin and Carl-Frédéric Decelles, who have been its partner and strategic advisor. The company is evolving in a very agile and inexpensive way, offering solutions tailored to the specific needs of businesses in the region. “We target large groups that manage several establishments: cooperatives, mutuals, franchisors, which require tools like dashboards and automatically generated reports,” said Eliot Jacquin.

Every day, he congratulates himself on his choice to live in Quebec. “The economic dynamics and the optimism that reigns here in business is more encouraging than in France, he quietly explained. You get so much out of quality of life: 10 minutes away from the beautiful outdoors. Near Montreal, Toronto, New York. » Also very important: the city network, where everyone knows each other in the digital world. “Quebec is a small village with great opportunities! »summarizes Eliot Jacquin, also director of international relations (volunteer) at WAQ.

Here are his tips for successfully creating and building a start-up in Quebec.

#1 Come to the site to test the market

Setting up in Quebec when you come to France isn’t just about opening an office. “It creates a new business on another continent, where customers don’t have the same needs,” warning of Eliot Jacquin. Several structures on the site help you evaluate your market: this is the case of OFQJ (Office franco-québecois de la Jeunesse), whose regularly organized economic mission allows you to go to the site for a few days, to observe and quickly create a good address book, without even having to take steps to obtain the famous work permit. “By visiting businesses, you get to know yourself. It saves months of long -distance work, “ assurance of Eliot Jacquin.

Le Camp, a technology incubator and accelerator in Quebec, also brings together all kinds of expertise on site to test a market.

#2 Network, anywhere and all the time!

“Networking” is almost a national sport in Quebec. Introduce yourself, interact with people, take care and keep your address book. WAQ (Web in Quebec), organized by Quebec Digital, is undoubtedly the best springboard for meeting major digital players. They are not hard to see, the speakers are the ones interfering in these events.

#3 Create a new corporate culture in the area

“The temptation of French companies too often is to open an office in Quebec, entrusting it to a young VIE (international business volunteerism), which is responsible for doubling the culture of the French company,” said Eliot Jacquin. “However, this mission turns out to be very difficult for a young person with little experience. » The young entrepreneur advises the opposite to invest in the local workforce and recreate a new alchemy. “We need to be able to export French know-how and mix it with the local culture. Don’t stay between French, it’s an apprenticeship! »

#4 Implement proper vocabulary and good use

The French often came to Quebec in a occupied country. “Of course, language brings us closer, but everything else is very different,” warning of Eliot Jacquin. “We don’t sell in Quebec the same way as in France: the tone is more friendly, more direct, and most of all you shouldn’t be afraid to talk about money and announce a price, very quickly. The little ones Quebec companies find it easier to go in large groups than the French. »

Trap warning: business vocabulary can get mad at you! “You need to make it a habit to drive away all the anglicism that is often used in France in digital or marketing circles! Don’t use the word “digital”! It’s also better to say “Quebec” than “Canada”. » With this kind of detail you will gain the trust of your partners.

#5 Get support from Quebec experts

The organization Québec International offers experts to foreign companies with the ability to help them establish themselves in Québec City. They allowed us, for example, to meet our first customers, and explained to us how to better negotiate with them, ” explanation by Eliot Jacquin.

#6 Take the right management steps at the right time

Immigration is selective in Quebec. “It’s very important to take the right steps, and do them at the right time,” warning of Eliot Jacquin. “The French have a“ PVT ”(“ working holiday permit ”) culture, but as its name suggests, this permit that allows part-time jobs is not the best basis for developing solid … » According to the young businessman, it is better to try to get a real “work permit”. Two conditions for this: to have a business registered in Quebec, meaning to be created immediately, and to prove that you will have enough income to meet your needs once you arrive in the land of Quebec. The Québec International organization can provide you with administrative support in this matter.

#7 Don’t dream too much about the United States

Setting up in Quebec is a great gateway to all of North America, especially thanks to NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). But aiming for the American market when you were still a very small company was… illusion and outrageous. “Growing your business in Quebec already requires a lot of effort, with so many markets to cover there,” by Eliot Jacquin. sorry!

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