A lawyer by training, Béatrice Couture, worked in business development for several years, but truly believed that by helping entrepreneurs, you could change the world. By creating InnoCité MTL, she’s stood out within the community and had an extremely positive first year!
Since the end of the 2000s, entrepreneur support schemes (incubators that welcome startups and accelerators that promote their growth) are flourishing in the economic capital. There are now dozens of these structures providing premises and services to business creators.
Welcome to InnoCité MTL, a startup "accelerator" established on June 1st, 2015. It’s the latest in a family of ever-increasing Innovation District partners.
What is an accelerator?
"An accelerator operates during a specific period, a very short period in the life of a company when compared to an incubator, which accompanies it over a longer period and acts more on technology or solution development. In our case, we operate over a very short period of time to accelerate the marketing of the product" explains Béatrice Couture, Managing Director of InnoCité MTL.
As the first accelerator from Canada’s smart city, Innocité MTL offers two 12-week programs that welcome eight startups specializing in urban innovation and smart cities. The goal is to help them lead development to a marketable product or service that has a tangible impact on the quality of life of citizens. "Companies choose to work with us to accelerate the marketing of their products." Mrs Couture comments.
To promote its startups, the InnoCité MTL program has developed partnerships with both cities (such as the city of Montreal) and private companies such as Telus, Yellow Pages, Desjardins, etc. Its program also wants to encourage financial and organizational networking!
Are there not too many support structures today? And why are they positive for Montreal? "There are never too many initiatives. And Montreal, thanks to its five universities and its dynamic economy, has everything it needs to develop an ecosystem around the smart city. It’s a growing economic niche! "In addition," accelerators and incubators are the economic drivers of tomorrow, because we’re seeing the birth of many new companies. We are at the heart of innovation!"
A successful first year
Since its launch, InnoCité MTL has accompanied 14 companies and already concluded more than 80 agreements between the participating companies and private sector organizations: 37 agreements with the private sector, 21 with the public sector and 22 with municipalities. Two "graduates" of InnoCité MTL, POTLOC (a young company enabling citizens to choose the next local merchants they wish to welcome in their neighborhood) and Local Logic (a company that allows online retailer sites to highlight the localization elements of their products) are already booming in France and in the United States, doubling the size of their teams.
Inspiring Success Stories
Some tricks to be successful as an entrepreneur? Mrs Couture gives us three of her tricks:
- "Being an expert in his or her field";
- "A determination and a strong long term will as well as the resilience to overcome the obstacles and the "nos" you may receive";
- "Being a good leader! That is, being able to build a team and get them on board with your vision."