PRESS RELEASE – Sherbrooke Innopole today unveiled its activity report for 2017, at the end of a vibrant year within the organization and its five key sectors. The economic development organization notably highlighted the strength of Sherbrooke’s industrial and high-value-added services sector, which invested more than $210M – a record amount – in multiple expansion, optimization, and innovation projects creating more than 630 jobs.
2017 also saw the materialization of several partnerships and projects aligned with the needs of Sherbrooke’s entrepreneurs through the initiative or in collaboration with Sherbrooke Innopole, in particular in terms of workforce, marketing, exports, and growth.
Pierre Tremblay, President of Sherbrooke Innopole, Josée Fortin, Director General of Sherbrooke Innopole and Steve Lussier, Mayor of Sherbrooke
Sherbrooke Innopole results
Sherbrooke Innopole presented its annual report following the three components of its strategic plan – Facilitate, Assist, Communicate.
Within the Facilitate component, the organization’s professionals worked on 76 projects completing 34 of them in 2017. Of particular importance among these projects were the launch of the J’adopte l’Estrie project which aims to retain international students, the result of a collaboration with the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion du Québec, and the inauguration of the multi-tenant science centre, Espace LABz – “a long-awaited infrastructure that already had a 40% occupancy rate last December, completed in collaboration with the City of Sherbrooke, as well as the industrial promotion committees of Brompton and Sherbrooke.”
In terms of the Assist component of its mandate, Sherbrooke Innopole’s team conducted 503 interventions with Sherbrooke companies to help them with their start-up, implementation, and growth projects. Of these, 188 were completed in 2017 generating investments of over $139M, and the creation or consolidation of 707 jobs.
In terms of funding, $2.2M was invested in growth and innovation projects of 20 Sherbrooke companies channelled from one of the six Sherbrooke Innopole funds, producing overall spinoffs reaching $125.4M. Every dollar invested has also generated $56.11 in local investment – a previously unmatched high.
The completion of phase 2 of Robert-Boyd St. and the opening of Joseph-Louis-Mathieu St. in the Regional Industrial Park, combined with a favourable economic climate, have continued to foster relocation and installation projects on Sherbrooke soil; 45 have been completed with the support of the Sherbrooke Innopole team, for overall investments of more than $26.6M. 11 industrial sites have been sold in the wake of these developments –a first since 2012.
Committed to providing ever-greater impact and added value to address the challenges facing companies in key sectors, Sherbrooke Innopole has developed, in parallel, new initiatives to support their innovation and marketing efforts, with new programs Sherbrooke International and VITE (Validation d’innovation technologique à l’essai), and has continued to pursue its partnerships/collaborations with CQI, the Centre Laurent-Beaudoin’s Business Intelligence Pole, the ACET / iA7, Espace-Inc, TransferTech, Défi Innovation Estrie, and Productique Québec.
As part of its third component, Communicate, Sherbrooke Innopole has helped nurture and promote Sherbrooke’s entrepreneurial dynamism with almost 650 news articles, blogs, and events published online; 62 training sessions, conferences and networking events; 41 news releases/news conferences; and 1400 entries and discussions on social media.
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 18 803 jobs across 653 businesses. This reflects a net gain of 12 companies and 637 jobs, primarily in Information Technology.
“This significant job creation, particularly in the context of workforce shortages, is remarkable. Manufacturing companies have been visibly innovative in their recruitment strategies,” highlighted the President of Sherbrooke Innopole, Pierre Tremblay. “But the challenge constantly evolves, and Sherbrooke Innopole will continue to support companies with new tools, and attraction and retention strategies in 2018.”
The Director General of Sherbrooke Innopole, Josée Fortin, reiterated: “The J’adopte l’Estrie initiative was launched last September. A new human resource to focus on attracting employees for the workforce joined the team at the start of 2018. This will result in an intensification of our efforts and an enhancement of the services we offer, and, among other things, position Sherbrooke and all of its companies as an innovative and attractive working environment for a workforce from here and afar.”
Furthermore, more than 60% of the companies in the key sectors have overall injected more than $210M in expansion, optimization, and innovation projects. “This is an all-time high, which reflects the confidence in the sector and confirms that Sherbrooke offers a flourishing business environment,” Pierre Tremblay was pleased to note.
70% of these investments are related to innovation – a proportion that has remained steady for almost a decade – with more than $147M injected in Machinery and Equipment and Research and Development. “This is the shift of innovation in action!” stated Josée Fortin. “The key sector companies have grasped the importance of investing to improve productivity, and developing new innovative products to distinguish their brand and boost their competitiveness on a national and worldwide scale. It really bodes well for the future.”
“I am very happy and truly proud of the results unveiled by Sherbrooke Innopole today. They speak volumes and show the strength of Sherbrooke’s economy! With over $210M invested in our key sectors in 2017, we have demonstrated that the development strategy of recent years is highly efficient and that Sherbrooke’s industrial sector is solid and primed for the future,” stated the Mayor of Sherbrooke, Steve Lussier.
Changes in the Board of Directors
Pierre Tremblay has taken advantage of his last term as President of Sherbrooke Innopole to commend the dynamism and drive of Sherbrooke entrepreneurs that have nurtured the vitality and economic diversity of Sherbrooke. He also applauded the work and collaborative spirit of both Sherbrooke Innopole and stakeholders: “It is thanks to the unparalleled commitment and daily efforts in the field by the Sherbrooke Innopole team, in conjunction with the efforts of our entire community, that Sherbrooke’s economic fabric is stronger than ever before.”
After three years as president of the organization’s Board of Directors, Mr. Tremblay stepped down from his functions at Sherbrooke Innopole’s annual general meeting, which took place Tuesday evening. Alexandre Nault, Director of Operations at The Color Group’s Canadian Custom Packaging division, has been elected president.
“I am proud to contribute to the economic development of Sherbrooke, not only as an entrepreneur, but also within the Board of Directors of Sherbrooke Innopole for the past two years,” stated Mr. Nault. “I accept the chairmanship of an organization that listens to its clients’ needs and shows ingenuity in responding to them. The manufacturing sector is on a roll, and we will continue to support companies in their growth.”
In order to ensure a smooth transition for his successor, Pierre Tremblay will serve as vice-president of Sherbrooke Innopole until April 2019. Francine Guay, President of M.I. Integration, has been elected secretary. Annie Lessard, partner at Deloitte, has been named treasurer for a third year.
Sherbrooke Innopole has also welcomed three new directors: Vincent Aimez, Vice-President of Partnerships and Knowledge Transfer at the Université de Sherbrooke; Karine Côté, Director of Operations-Communications at Q&T Recherche Sherbrooke; and Manon Tremblay, President of Plastimum.
To access the 2017 annual report: http://bit.ly/RapportActSI2017
Source : Sherbrooke Innopole