Montreal : A social innovation city

Montreal : A social innovation city




  • Montreal
  • Entrepreneurship
  • impact
  • Social Innovation
  • MSI
  • ville de montréal

Montreal : A social innovation city

Published on:
April 16, 2018
Event date:
Monday, 16 April, 2018 (All day)
By Isabelle Langlois

The Ville de Montréal will take advantage of the Montreal Summit on Innovation (SMI) on May 23, 2018, to highlight the major importance of social innovation in the city’s economic development. This event is sure to underscore this contribution and to cultivate the potential for collaboration throughout Montréal, an objective that’s especially dear to the city. In line with this, the strong ties between entrepreneurs, researchers and other players in the innovation sector will be showcased during this not-to-be-missed event organized by the Quartier de l’innovation (QI), the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and C2 Montréal.

The theme of this 7th MSI, Entrepreneurship + Social Impact, resonates particularly with Géraldine Martin, Director of Entrepreneurship at the Ville de Montréal. Beyond job creation and economic benefits, she reminds us that social innovation generates significant positive impacts on residents’ everyday lives and on the vitality of districts. The population’s engagement promotes the longevity of projects as well as their resilience: a key characteristic.

It’s for these reasons among others that the Ville de Montréal administration places social innovation at the heart of its policies. This approach will play an important role in the city’s new economic development strategy, to be revealed by Mayor Valérie Plante on Thursday, April 19, 2018. “The current situation is conducive to the rise of social innovation,” says Martin. “There’s a kind of momentum that the city hasn’t hesitated to take advantage of.”

She makes the observation that the word “innovation” itself no longer has the same connotation as it did before. “Innovation is no longer only associated with cutting-edge technology, as was the case a few years ago. These days, entrepreneurs recognize its different facets and are drawn to social issues.”

This movement can be seen in new entrepreneurs’ enthusiasm for making a social impact, in particular. A 2017 study by the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec indicated that among individuals with the intention of starting or taking over a business, one in five said that his or her future company would be active in the social economy; a number that was even higher in the 18-to-34 age group. This momentum is felt here and elsewhere. Montréal is recognized as being a leader in the field worldwide.

The Ville de Montréal’s work on various aspects has allowed the city to acquire this recognition over the course of the years. With the goal of attaining optimal conditions for the emergence of innovative projects, the city’s Economic Development Service is responsible for implementing different initiatives across the city and helping with their coordination. Intermediary structures like the PME MTL network and the Conseil d’économie sociale de l’île de Montréal (CESIM) provide practical support. These organizations working in the field mobilize and guide the major social economy hubs throughout all steps of their development.

In order to benefit from the full potential of this dynamic, the Ville de Montréal is paying close attention to the creation of relationships between all actors working in social innovation. “Social innovation is a process where several stakeholders take ideas and develop them. It isn’t a single person’s prerogative. Small companies, big companies, public companies, private companies, residents, the academic community and our administration all equally have a role to play. This is why Montréal is pleased to be a partner of the 2018 MSI.”

Photo credit: Agnieszka S

The partnership between the Ville de Montréal and the Innovation Summit aligns perfectly with the mandate of support that the city has assumed. In order for the greatest number of companies to participate in this event, the Ville de Montréal did a draw for 17 entries for startups and B-Corp certified companies as part of the #SMI2018 Contest, organized in collaboration with QI, UQAM and C2 Montréal. It also drew 10 passes for non-profit organizations thanks to the C = Collectif Contest, organized by the CESIM. “With these passes, we wanted to encourage inclusive access to the Summit’s activities. These contests support Montréal’s commitment to promote social innovation in a spirit of collaboration,” explains Martin.

Here are the winners:

  • Activcoop | Martin Gagnon, President
  • Arrive | Abdellatif Rouchdi, Founder
  • BocoBoco | Lauren Rochat, CEO
  • Centre d'écologie urbaine de Montréal (CEUM) | Véronique Fournier, CEO
  • Communautique | Monique Chartrand, CEO
  • Compagnons de Montréal | Pascal Langlais, Team Manager - Boutique L'Annexe
  • Credo | Yann Pezzini, Strategic Advisor on Social Impact
  • DVORE / MEDIAVORE | Alexandre Jalbert, Associate
  • Ellio | Esther Dormagen, President
  • Espace Fabrique | Sophie Courchesne, Manager of Communications and Marketing
  • Factry | Marie Amiot, CEO
  • Fondation Maison photo Montréal | Luce Vallières, Director of Development
  • Give-a-Seat | Guillaume Campeau, Co-Founder
  • Glee Factor | Nogol Madani, Founder
  • HYDROFLORA | Brahim Djiddah, Vice-President
  • Jeux WASA | Julie Tremblay, Co-Founder
  • Kotmo | Julie Dargent, Marketing and Communications Officer
  • L'atelier de LEO | Raphaèle Geismar, Founder and President
  • La Corbeille Bordeaux-Cartierville | André Gariépy, Director of Operations and Business Development
  • La Pépinière, espace collectif | Samuel Gervais, Partnerships Manager
  • La Vitrine | Kathia St-Jean, Executive Director
  • Sésame ouvre-toi | Catherine Blanchette-Dallaire, Founder
  • Société logique | Sophie Lanctôt, CEO
  • Vrac sur roues | Simon Gosselin-Barbeau, CEO and Founder
  • Wind-do | Duncan Sanderson, Communications and Community Development Manager
  • Women in mind | Lydia Alder, Co-Founder, Communications and Content Manager


Montreal : A social innovation city