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7 September 2012

Sherbrooke Innopole Launches the Second Edition of the Entreprendre Sherbrooke Campaign

PRESS RELEASE – In front of numerous business people, and economic development and sociopolitical actors, Sherbrooke Innopole launched the 2012 edition of its Entreprendre Sherbrooke campaign and dedicated website. Just like last year, this campaign aims to stimulate Sherbrooke’s youth entrepreneurship, and convince would-be businessmen and businesswomen to go ahead with their business project.

Entrepreneurship is a global and collective challenge in Sherbrooke, as well as elsewhere in the Province of Québec. In its 2009 strategic plan, Sherbrooke Innopole had targeted innovation and entrepreneurship as major development pathways, and developed the first edition of the Entreprendre Sherbrooke campaign in 2011. “The response was extremely positive: last year’s campaign has generated 22 business projects, the participation of over 750 young adults to the various conferences, and over 2500 visits to the website in 3 months, says Pierre Bélanger, Director General for Sherbrooke Innopole. It was clear that the campaign met the needs of the targeted clientele and that is why we have opted for a second edition.”

To this effect, Marc Cantin, President of Sherbrooke Innopole, adds: « Entrepreneurial culture is not well developed in the Province of Québec when compared to the rest of Canada. Most young graduates would never even think about starting their own business. Many others, who could be interested in becoming entrepreneurs, are often discouraged by the many obstacles in the way of their dream. This is why this campaign is so relevant: it shows how a career as an entrepreneur can be stimulating and that launching your own business is not that complicated when you have the right tools and resources.”

The 2012 Entreprendre Sherbrooke campaign’s slogan is “A headstart for my business!”. It is a multiplatform campaign with a web portal, a major advertising program, and a very active use of social media. Many events will also be organized throughout the campaign, with ten lunch conferences and panels presenting entrepreneurs and economic development experts. “In partnership with Pro-Gestion Estrie and the Corporation de développement économique communautaire (CDEC), this year’s event can count on the support of Université de Sherbrooke, not only for the many on-campus conferences, but also for the promotion of the campaign”, says Marie-Eve Poliquin, Director of Communications for Sherbrooke Innopole.

This year’s campaign draws on last year’s, but with improvements. The visual aspect has been revamped, starring young adults from Sherbrooke who are already business owners, or who are dreaming of becoming one. The main improvement concerns the website, EntreprendreSherbrooke.ca, which has been entirely redesigned to include not only information related to the campaign, but also a complete range of resources for the budding entrepreneur. “In partnership with our fellow economic development and academic specialists, we have come to the conclusion that a separate website dedicated to entrepreneurship in Sherbrooke, where all relevant information could be shared and updated by all partners, was necessary. This portal will go on even after the campaign is over, and up-to-date information will continue to be available”, adds Mr. Bélanger.

The campaign not only aims to reduce administrative hurdles for start-ups, but also to offer budding entrepreneurs a direct contact with the 13 regional business personalities who have agreed to become ambassadors for the campaign. They will deliver video testimonies and participate in events until December 2012. For Pierre Bélanger, Director General for Sherbrooke Innopole, this campaign had to be more than just an advertising event: “If we really want to stimulate entrepreneurship in our youth community, we need to do more than just tell them we are there to help and give them the necessary tools. We need to put in place the winning conditions for entrepreneurship to become more than a wish, but a serious option to consider.”

Over the next few weeks, Entreprendre Sherbrooke 2012 will boast an advertising campaign on the web, radio, and printed media. The web portal,www.entreprendresherbrooke.ca, already online, offers videos, testimonies, food for thought, resources, and relevant documents, all of which are divided in threesections: Inspiration, Reflection, and Action. On top of all that, a blog, an events calendar, and a Facebook page are available. A single phone number, 1‑855-DEMARRE, allows access to more information and to fast and personalized assistance.

About Sherbrooke Innopole:

Sherbrooke, as the Centre local de développement (CLD) of the MRC of Sherbrooke, is an economic development corporation whose mission is to ensure innovative, harmonious, and dynamic economic growth and development by promoting the development of companies created from Sherbrooke ingenuity and research, attracting new businesses, and supporting existing manufacturing firms in their expansion, innovation, and internationalization initiatives.

Mobilisation and coordination are priorities for Sherbrooke Innopole, who can build on existing partnerships and high-level recognition from key players in the economic development sector. These objectives are in line with the organization’s vision of profitable and sustainable development for the Sherbrooke region. This vision is supported by key sectors that serve as foundation to build Sherbrooke as the City of Innovation.

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