Two of Montréal’s most notable innovation organizations have joined forces in an effort to better serve entrepreneurs and startups in the city.
Bonjour Startup Montréal and Montréal Inc have merged and become Startup Montréal, a new not-for-profit organization, to support the city’s startup ecosystem during its next stage of development.
“The time has come to propel the Montréal startup ecosystem to its next phase of development … It is by working together that we will achieve this.”
According to Startup Montréal, together, the organization will have “a substantially greater impact” on the city’s startup ecosystem.
Liette Lamonde will serve as named managing director of Startup Montréal, while Pascale Audette will act as chair of the new organization’s board. Lamonde previously served as CEO of Bonjour Startup Montréal and executive director of Montréal Inc.
“The time has come to propel the Montréal startup ecosystem to its next phase of development,” said Lamonde. “More young businesses must succeed in their growth in an environment supported by all of Québec and recognized in the rest of Canada as well as on the international stage. It is by working together that we will achieve this.”
Lamonde told BetaKit that the merger “was the next logical step to have more impact since we combine our expertise in representing the startup ecosystem and in supporting entrepreneurs,” adding, “it also makes more sense economically to combine our resources.”
Audette, who has been tasked with working to define the new organization’s governance structure and “enhancing” its financing model, is a seasoned corporate director and veteran entrepreneur who formerly served as CEO of Montréal-based Carebook and as a member of Bonjour Startup Montréal’s board of directors.
“My journey as an entrepreneur made me want to give back to the community,” said Audette. “I want to use my managerial skills by contributing to the success of Startup Montreal, but also to the success of the startup ecosystem as a whole.”
Startup Montréal will continue to offer Montréal Inc’s existing services, including Grant+, access to its community of volunteer coaches, networking events, and its FoundHers and Recharge programs for women entrepreneurs.
The new organization will also continue to operate the majority of Bonjour Startup Montréal’s initiatives for orientation, outreach, and collaboration, with plans to adjust them. Lamonde said “most core programs will stay in operation,” adding that Startup Montréal plans to pivot other offerings, such as its open innovation programs Startup Radar and the Invincible Collective.”
Montréal Inc, formerly known as the Fondation du maire de Montréal pour la jeunesse, was founded in 1996 with the goal of supporting new, innovative Montréal companies. The organization offers bursaries, workshops, and business connections. In 2018, it was selected to be an official regional innovation hub by the provincial government.
“The merger allows us to extend our activities,” said Lamonde. “Montréal Inc. has 26 years of experience in mobilizing the business community, corporate donors, business people and seasoned entrepreneurs to give back. We want to scale that model to the whole ecosystem.”
Bonjour Startup Montréal was created by Montréal Inc and the OSMO Foundation after the project was selected to be an official regional innovation hub by the Quebec government. Bonjour Startup Montréal was launched as a means of mobilizing Montréal’s startups, organizations, universities, and business community towards the goal of positioning the city as one of the world’s most dynamic ecosystems.
Montréal’s tech sector showed signs of continued growth last year, as the city broke its previous venture funding record in 2021. Last year, overall investment in Montréal startups rose by roughly 33 percent to $1.6 billion, from the $1.2 billion raised in 2020.
Startup Montréal is getting financial support from the Government of Québec, the City of Montreal, Canada Economic Development for Québec Regions, as well as other partners and corporate donors.
UPDATE (10/02/2022): This story was updated to include responses from Startup Montréal.