Entrepreneurship and investing
Business environment


Sherbrooke: the Best Choice for Business

In addition to offering a quality of life that is unequaled in an enchanting natural setting, Sherbrooke possesses unique business advantages. This city has all the characteristics of a major urban centre, administrative and industrial, fuelled by innovation and which offers a dynamic business environment at a very competitive price.

 

Operating costs among the lowest

Sherbrooke offers competitive implementation and operating conditions to businesses.  According to the comparative study Competitive Alternatives (2010) performed by KPMG, the cost of manpower, electricity, transportation, telecommunications, interest, district accounting and taxes are globally lower in Sherbrooke, with an index of 91.2, based on the US comparative of 100, than in most of other cities in developed countries.

 

 

Quality labour force

With its 2 universities, its 4 colleges, its other sizable educational institutions and its University Pole, Sherbrooke possesses abundant and qualified human capital.

The post-secondary enrollment rate is higher in Sherbrooke (62.8%) than overall in Québec.  Sherbrooke also relies on a superior proportion of people having completed collegial studies (17%) and university studies (27.4%) than in Québec as a whole.1 In fact, Sherbrooke has 10.32 university students per 100 inhabitants compared to Montreal where this proportion is 4.17.3

Results: Employers will find an abundant, educated workforce in Sherbrooke whose bilingualism rate is 40% 2, one of the highest in Québec!

 

A diversified and strong economy

In 2015, the Sherbrooke census metropolitan area (CMA) (which includes Ascot Corner, Compton, Hatley, Magog, North Hatley, Saint-Denis-de-Brompton, Stoke, and Waterville) experienced an unemployment rate of 6.8% while the average for Québec stood at 7.6%. The greater Sherbrooke area therefore finds itself lower than the average for Québec for a 7th year in a row, which is partly explained by the diversification of its economy.4

The majority of jobs in Sherbrooke come from the service sector (75.6%) with a considerable proportion in health care and social assistance services (19.7%) and educational services (8.6%).  The industrial sector represents 17.4% of jobs.5 Industrial jobs are otherwise much diversified.  The 5 industrial activities generating the most jobs are: metal products, plastic and rubber products, manufacturing of machines, furniture and associated products as well as food and beverages.6

 

Strategically located

Sherbrooke’s location in the southeast portion of the Province of Québec is an undeniable advantage:

  • Sherbrooke is located 30 minutes from the US border
  • It takes less than 24 hours to reach a market of 140 million consumers
  • Because of this strategic location, Sherbrooke ranks 2nd as Quebec’s largest export region


Distance from Sherbrooke

 
km
miles

Montréal
147
92



Québec
237
148



Portland
299
187



Boston
434
271



New York
657
410



Toronto
693
433



Philadelphie
850
531



Baltimore
965
603



Washington
1091
682



Easy access

Sherbrooke is located at the crossroads of a number of highways, providing quick and easy access to major centers across Québec, Ontario, and the United States. Entrepreneurs can also rely on quick and efficient access to air, rail, and maritime infrastructures for the transportation of merchandise.

Highway 10
Montréal, Ontario, Western Canada.

Highway 55
Québec, United States (New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, and the other major centres along the Eastern Seaboard).

Airports
Sherbrooke is only a 90-minute drive from Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport and a 2-hour drive from Burlington International Airport in the United States. In addition, Sherbrooke’s airport offers private and charter flights for all North American destinations.

Railway lines
Three railway lines in Sherbrooke secure links to the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific Railway networks: St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad (SLR), Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway, and the Quebec Central Railway (QCR).

Port facilities
The two deepwater ports of Bécancour and Montréal are located less than 90 minutes from Sherbrooke.

To maximize the proximity of your business with a consumer market numbering 140 million, take note of the presence in Sherbrooke of the firm WIPTEC Logistics, a supplier of logistical solutions. WIPTEC is expert in order fulfillment for both retail stores and shops (B2B) and for E-commerce (B2C). The company also offers various secondary operations such as kitting, labeling and packaging. WIPTEC partially or completely take charge of its customers logistics operations.

 

An innovative business accelerator/incubator

To stimulate dynamic entrepreneurship and to support startups as they get off the ground, Sherbrooke has an innovative business accelerator/incubator, Espace-INC.

Espace-INC offers three support programs for entrepreneurs – incubation, pre-acceleration, and acceleration – that can provide all-inclusive work spaces, a variety of activities fostering support from and networking with peers, and help from experts and a strategy team.

Located in downtown Sherbrooke, the facilities offer coworking spaces, offices, conference rooms, and a workshop. In its current pilot phase, the accelerator/incubator can host up to 20 startup businesses.

 

Teaching institutions involved in business

Knowledge and innovation have always coexisted in Sherbrooke, constantly renewing the University City.  It has become fertile ground for research and business development, among other factors thanks to Sherbrooke Innopole and the members of the University Pole, who do not hesitate to pool their expertise for greater impact on the international scene.

In a tangible fashion, Sherbrooke businesses benefit from personalized services from four organizations that partner with an educational institution.  These organizations complement the offer of services from Sherbrooke Innopole, Pro-Gestion Estrie and the Sherbrooke Corporation de développement économique communautaire (CDEC – Community economic development Corporation).

 

Accélérateur de création d’entreprises technologiques

Set up by the Université de Sherbrooke (Sherbrooke University) and its partners, among them Sherbrooke Innopole, the Accélérateur de création d’entreprises technologiques (ACETAccelerator for the creation of technological businesses) is meant to be a springboard for university students who work on innovating projects with a strong potential for commercial returns. ACET offers personalized advice:

  • Start-up assistance
  • Seminars and training in marketing, technology development and communication
  • Pairing with coaches and business environment specialists

 

Université de Sherbrooke Entrepreneurship Institute

The primary objective of Université de Sherbrooke Entrepreneurship Institute (IEUS) is to promote student participation in creating new companies. Its mission is to stimulate interest in the numerous opportunities this field provides. In collaboration with Université de Sherbrooke’s various faculties, IEUS offers a range of specific activities and services extremely beneficial to beginning entrepreneurs:

  • Courses and training programs which give credits in entrepreneurship in Université de Sherbrooke’s different faculties
  • Activities which provide training, information and the promotion and awakening of entrepreneurship
  • Guidance in the reflection process involved in business start-up

 

Dobson-Lagassé Entrepreneurship Centre

Located on Bishop’s University campus in Lennoxville, the Dobson-Lagassé Entrepreneurship Centre has two main objectives: promote the teaching and practice of entrepreneurship within Bishop’s University student community and take part in stimulating entrepreneurship within the Sherbrooke community.

 

Productique Québec

Productique Québec, affiliated with Cégep de Sherbrooke, provides services to manufacturing companies. The use of computer-assisted manufacturing technology enables CPIQ to:

  • Offer technical support adapted to company needs
  • Support companies in implementing manufacturing technologies

 


1 Statistics Canada, National Household Survey, Sherbrooke RMR, 2011
2 Institut de la statistique du Québec –2011 Census
3 Ville de Sherbrooke
4 Emploi-Québec Estrie
5 Statistics Canada, Labour force survey estimates, Sherbrooke RMR, 2015
6 Business Directory 2015, Sherbrooke Innopole