Québec City prosperous partnerships in the high-tech sector
Québec City has long been renowned for its cutting-edge high-tech sector thanks to a thriving and highly cooperative ecosystem of private, para-public and public partnerships. In fact, the city was hailed, in 2018, as one of Canada’s major innovation hubs by Startup Genome.
Le CAMP: An instrumental lever for Québec City’s tech growth
Le CAMP, an incubator-accelerator dedicated to tech businesses’ growth and entrepreneurial mentorship, has played a significant role in Québec City’s emergence in the world’s high-tech scene. Created by Québec International, Le CAMP offers a wide range of programs and services for both start-ups and companies that are starting to have major traction, with between $500K to $5M in sales.
“Le CAMP initially started solely as an incubator, with a focus on software and apps,” explained Sebastien Tanguay, General Manager at Le CAMP. “However, since its foundation in 2016, Le CAMP evolved into an accelerator, providing additional support in financing and commercialization for businesses that have passed the stage of being fledglings.” Today, Le CAMP’s reach spans different sub-sectors of the high-tech industry, from video games to med tech.
The numbers are impressive. From 2015 to 2021, Le CAMP has assisted more than 340 start-ups. The latest figures show that close to 3,600 jobs have been created. Over $500M in economic spin-offs and funding are directly attributed to Le CAMP and the companies it helps.
Québec City: Major curb appeal from high-tech giants and research centres
Québec City is home to many facilities owned by reputed technology companies from around the world. Microsoft chose Québec City as the location for a huge data centre to boost its cloud computing presence in North America. Computer giant Microsoft is a CAMP partner, as is CAE, a full-service global defence and aerospace company, as well as Desjardins, Canada’s largest financial service cooperative. These partners invest in Québec’s entrepreneurial ecosystem when they share their expertise to help companies supported by the accelerator-incubator.“Le CAMP is part of a dynamic network of incubators that allows start-ups to reach their fullest potential. In fact, several businesses work with several incubators, including Le CAMP, simultaneously so that they can benefit from the specialized expertise of each one.”
What’s more, Université Laval and its wealth of ahead-of-the-curve research centres in agri-food, technology, health sciences and optics-photonics, for example, cooperate with the private sector to propel innovation even further, Mr. Tanguay added.
Mr. Tanguay believes that tech and financial leaders are drawn to Québec City because its start-up community has matured quickly—yet remains dynamic, efficient and competitive as a mid-size city. Rather than aggressively compete against one another, high-tech businesses adopt a co-opetition mindset so that every organization benefits from collective efforts. “Brad Feld, a proven start-up entrepreneur, founder of several VC firms, and author, said that, typically, a thriving start-up community takes 20 years to build,” Mr. Tanguay said. “Local entrepreneurs see how their peers can attain business goals from their peers’ experiences. In other words, when local businesses succeed, it inspires other entrepreneurs to follow suit," says Tanguay. "As the saying goes, success breeds success.” Stakeholders across the ecosystem continue to reinvest their time and resources to keep the community at top-level performance and creativity.
“Québec City’s strong ecosystem, comprised of innovative businesses, government infrastructures and research centres, creates the perfect space for events and conventions to prosper and grow. ICT businesses choose Québec City to hold events and come back year after year. Animation and digital arts, AI, gaming and telecommunications, are among the robust fields that Québec City can cater to with industry visits, specialized speakers and dynamic workshops,” said Ann Cantin, Director, Communication and Marketing, at Québec City Business Destination.
Le CAMP wins top business incubator awards
In June 2022, Le CAMP won two prestigious awards at the InBIA’s 36th International Conference on Business Incubation (ICBI36) in Atlanta, Georgia. Each year, the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA) recognizes entrepreneurial support organizations that have distinguished themselves through their service offerings and performance. These organizations and the companies they support are the foundation of regional economic growth around the world.
Le CAMP won the Entrepreneurship Centre of the Year Award in the Technology/Science category as well as the illustrious Dinah Atkins Incubator of the Year Award, which pays tribute to one of the InBIA’s founding members who has dedicated her life to innovation, management, leadership and entrepreneurship. "We were very proud to receive this recognition, which is even more noteworthy because it comes from the entrepreneurial community itself. To be recognized internationally as the coaching organization of the year is truly a milestone for Le CAMP. This recognition is even more significant because we were evaluated by our colleagues from around the world.”