26 April 2017

SHERBROOKE INNOPOLE ACTIVITY REPORT 2016 – Sherbrooke’s Industrial Sector is Booming

Sherbrooke Innopole logo

PRESS RELEASE – Sherbrooke Innopole released its 2016 annual report today, which reflects the growth in the industrial and high-value-added services sector, continuing the positive trend initiated in 2015. The economic development agency presented the numerous business expansion, set-up, and start-up projects that have marked the year and the investments totalling more than $147M into the key sectors. These sectors recorded a net gain of 274 jobs compared to last year.

» View the 2016 Activity Report (in French only)

Dévoilement du rapport d'activité 2016 de Sherbrooke Innopole

» Pictures of the press conference
» Testimonies of entrepreneurs about Sherbrooke Innopole

Sherbrooke Innopole results

Sherbrooke Innopole has submitted an annual report in line with its three-pronged strategic plan–Facilitate, Assist, Communicate–and with the mandate given to it by the City of Sherbrooke.

In 2016, the organization’s professionals have worked on 83 projects and have seen 40 of them come to fruition in the Facilitate component of the strategic plan, including the realization of the multi-tenant science centre Espace LABz, the development of new industrial sites, the launching of internationalization and digital technology deployment support programs, as well as several workforce initiatives, such as the Portes ouvertes sur l’industrie (industry open house) event and the Babillard de l’emploi (career board).

Indeed, the recruitment difficulties in many sectors are likely to slow down the momentum of the Sherbrooke manufacturing sector. “Too often, we hear business leaders saying that they have refused a contract or delayed a project, due to lack of qualified personnel,” deplored Josée Fortin, Director General of Sherbrooke Innopole. “All stakeholders, primarily the provincial government, must rally and address this issue without delay.”

As for the Assist component, Sherbrooke Innopole completed the year with 174 interventions conducted with Sherbrooke companies to assist them in their start-up, growth, and set-up projects. These interventions have generated expected investments of $114M—a record amount—and the conservation or creation of 1225 jobs in the key sectors.

“Export recovery and projects implemented by the Sherbrooke business community over the past years have contributed to a climate of trust conducive to business,” explained Pierre Tremblay, President of Sherbrooke Innopole’s Board of Directors. “The businesses responded to it with major expansion projects and significant investments in 2016.”

The efforts made by Sherbrooke Innopole over the recent years to attract businesses have paid off, as two multinationals, Soprema and Genetec, have decided to set up operations in Sherbrooke. Josée Fortin also highlighted the remarkable growth experience by some of our flagship companies: “SherWeb firmly established itself as the champion in job creation with the addition of 125 employees to its team, while Verbom, less than a year after the opening of its Sherbrooke plant, is employing some 100 people and has just reinvested several million dollars to expand and automate its facilities.”

In terms of funding, 12 businesses have benefited from one of Sherbrooke Innopole’s six funds, generating investments of more than $76M. Each dollar invested has generated investments from the business community of $47.22.

As part of its third component, Communicate, Sherbrooke Innopole has published online more than 650 news items, blogs, and events, as well as 224 job or internship offers. The organization has also launched a personalized newsletter, to keep business leaders informed as effectively as possible.

Finally, some 50 trainings, activities, or events have contributed to the vibrancy of the Sherbrooke entrepreneurial community. “With some 100 interviews or media references, 41 press releases, and nearly 1800 entries and discussions on our social networks,” specified Josée Fortin, “Sherbrooke and our businesses have shined more than ever!”

Profile of the industrial/high-value-added services sector

According to the annual survey conducted by Sherbrooke Innopole with businesses from the industrial and high-value-added services sector, Sherbrooke’s five key sectors now account for 18 166 jobs across 641 businesses. This is a net gain of 275 jobs, recorded mainly in Information Technologies and Life Sciences.

Almost two thirds of businesses of the five key sectors have reported investments for the year 2016, totalling $147M, of which 60% is linked to innovation and productivity, 19% to R&D, and 41% to machinery and equipment.

For the Mayor of Sherbrooke, Bernard Sévigny, this high level of investments confirms that the development strategy for the key sectors is effective and that Sherbrooke’s industrial sector is solid and farsighted. He also reminded its importance in Sherbrooke’s economy: “The five key sectors account for 21% of the jobs in Sherbrooke’s CMA and the manufacturing sector alone is the 2nd largest employer, next to the healthcare sector,” he explained. “The industrial and high-value-added services sector is also responsible for almost all of our exports and has a significant multiplier effect on the rest of the economy.

He commended the work and excellent results of Sherbrooke Innopole’s team, as well as the mobilization demonstrated by entrepreneurs, organizations, and institutions over the recent years, enabling Sherbrooke to stand out on the national scale for its entrepreneurial vitality.

He continued by highlighting the City of Sherbrooke’s contribution to this success, citing as examples the development of industrial sites in the Regional Park and the support given for the launch of the incubator Espace‑inc and the multi-tenant science centre Espace LABz. “The results that we note today show that the development of infrastructure and special projects are not expenses but investments in Sherbrooke’s future,” insisted Bernard Sévigny.

In terms of the future, the economic development organization considers that indicators point towards sustainable growth, despite certain uncertainties. “The current global situation, i.e. with the upsets experienced by our neighbours to the south and the renegotiation of the NAFTA, involves risks, but can also feature opportunities, if we consider the ratification of the free trade agreement with the European Union,” said Pierre Tremblay. “I am convinced that our businesses will be in an excellent position to seize these opportunities and that Sherbrooke Innopole’s team will continue to be there to support them.”

Read the 2016 annual report here:

About Sherbrooke Innopole

Sherbrooke Innopole is an economic para-municipal corporation dedicated to the development of the industrial and high-value-added services sector of the City of Sherbrooke. Its mission is to ensure innovative, harmonious, and dynamic economic development. The organization focuses on the creation of businesses stemming from the research and ingenuity of Sherbrooke residents, on attracting new businesses and supporting existing manufacturing businesses in their expansion, innovation, and internationalization efforts, on the multidisciplinary expertise of its team, and on five promising key sectors: Advanced Manufacturing, Cleantech, Information & Communication Technologies, Life Sciences, and Micro-Nanotechnologies.

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Sherbrooke Innopole’s mandate ends on March 31, 2024. We invite you to contact Entreprendre Sherbrooke or the Service du développement économique of the Ville de Sherbrooke for further services.
Thank you to all Sherbrooke industrial and technological businesses, as well as to all our partners for the trust granted since 2009!