Creating Ax-C Space to Develop New Generation of Entrepreneurs
Montréal, March 31, 2023 – The governments of Canada and Quebec, along with the Ville de Montréal, are granting a total of $48 million in financial assistance to the École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS) to support the creation in Montréal of Ax-C, a space for innovative entrepreneurship that will be international in scope. It will be located strategically in the heart of the metropolis’s business centre and close to universities to accentuate the entrepreneurial dynamic in Quebec, help attract talent, and promote the establishment of business relationships. This project is valued at over $100 million.
The Government of Canada is granting a non-repayable contribution of $7 million under CED’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program, to develop the space and purchase specialized equipment. For its part, the Government of Quebec is providing a total of $38.5 million in grants through the 2022-2027 Québec strategy to support research and investment in innovation. In addition, the Ville de Montréal is granting $2.5 million, including $1 million for upgrades and $1.5 million to cover operating costs for the next three years. The city’s support is part of Stratégie Montréal 2030, which emphasizes innovation and collaboration as key drivers of the economy of the future.
The Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED), the Honourable Pascale St‑Onge, the Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy, Minister Responsible for Regional Economic Development, and Minister Responsible for the Metropolis and the Montréal Region, Pierre Fitzgibbon, and the Head of Economic and Commercial Development, Knowledge, Innovation and Design on the Ville de Montréal’s Executive Committee, Luc Rabouin, made the announcement today.
The aim of the new Espace Ax-C is to bring together under the same roof Quebec’s ecosystem of innovative businesses and a range of organizations and services essential to their development. It will thus provide a meeting space for events, incubation and acceleration services, work areas, infrastructure, and specialized laboratories with the purpose of accelerating the commercialization of innovations by start-ups and raising Quebec’s profile internationally.
Of note, Centech Executive Director Richard Chénier will act as strategic advisor to formulate recommendations and suggestions regarding the services to be offered in this space. Given his experience with start-ups, he will be able to advise the Government of Quebec on making Ax-C a central entrepreneurial space in Montréal whose reach extends right across Quebec and around the world.
“It is with great pride that I announce our commitment to the École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS) to create the new Ax-C innovative entrepreneurial space. With assistance from the Government of Canada and other involved partners, Montréal will be able to establish a new innovation hub that is international in scope, in addition to supporting the development and quality of Quebec’s entrepreneurship. The ÉTS will be able to continue to assert itself as a reference resource for young entrepreneurs interested in launching a business, while also stimulating Quebec’s ecosystem of innovative technology businesses. By helping them equip themselves with what they need, together, we will be able to promote a stronger, more resilient, and more sustainable economy. Congratulations to all on this promising project!”
The Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions
“We are witnessing today the birth of one of the largest innovation spaces in Canada. The metropolis’s innovation ecosystem is already solid and dynamic, and Espace Ax-C will propel it even further forward. Montréal and all regions across Quebec will be the ones to shine.”
Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy, Minister Responsible for Regional Economic Development, and Minister Responsible for the Metropolis and the Montréal Region
“This strategic project in the heart of the downtown area crowns the coordinated efforts of many players in the entrepreneurial sector. Innovative technology businesses and start-ups will be able to grow in the metropolis’s dynamic innovation ecosystem. It is like a major spark plug to revitalize our downtown area, which is Quebec’s economic engine. This is proof once again that our metropolis stands out in innovation both at home and abroad.”
Luc Rabouin, Head of Economic and Commercial Development, Knowledge, Innovation and Design on the Ville de Montréal’s Executive Committee
“The ÉTS is proud to be able to deploy its expertise in entrepreneurship and innovation to enable even more homegrown talent and start-ups to shine. Our involvement in implementing the Ax‑C space demonstrates the ÉTS’s willingness to be an engaged and active partner working with governments and industry to support the economic and technological development of Montréal, Quebec, and Canada.”
François Gagnon, Chief Executive Officer, École de technologie supérieure
“We must seize the strategic opportunity available to us in the coming years to market our technologies and our know-how. A project of this scale will make it both easier and faster for our innovative businesses with strong growth potential to access the support they need, while also positioning us as a leader internationally.”
Richard Chénier, Executive Director, Centech
- Specializing in university education and applied research in engineering and technology, the École de technologie supérieure has the largest engineering faculty in Quebec and the second largest in Canada.
- Its cooperative teaching model and approximately 50 science clubs and student groups push this engaged community to undertake initiatives and innovate to have a marked impact on society’s technological development.
- The ÉTS cultivates unique, privileged connections with the business community and industry. Sixty percent of its research activities are conducted with or for businesses in Quebec, in Canada and beyond. It has been able to establish itself as an essential player in the innovation cycle, including by creating Centech, which is ranked among the top 10 highest-performing incubators in the world.
- CED is the key federal partner in Quebec’s regional economic development. With its 12 regional business offices, CED accompanies businesses, supporting organizations and all regions across Quebec into tomorrow’s economy.
- CED’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program targets entrepreneurs leveraging innovation to grow their businesses and enhance their competitiveness, as well as regional economic stakeholders helping to create an entrepreneurial environment conducive to innovation and growth for all, across all regions.
- The 2022-2027 Québec strategy to support research and investment in innovation includes over $7.5 billion in investments over five years to increase the prosperity of all Quebecers through innovation.
- The Government of Quebec’s assistance includes $18 million for leasehold improvements needed to develop the entrepreneurial space and $20.5 million to cover operating costs over the next five years.
- Montréal 2030 is a strategic plan for a city that is more resilient and engaged in the ecological transition, more united in solidarity and inclusive, and more participative and innovative. It aims, among other things, to stimulate business creativity and innovation.
- Centech drives high-potential technological innovation projects forward in the fields of science and engineering, providing entrepreneurs with an ecosystem of resources, tools, and contacts to guide them in their growth, from product conceptualization to commercialization.
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Office of the Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions
Office of the Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy, Minister Responsible for Regional Economic Development, and Minister Responsible for the Metropolis and the Montréal Region
Senior Press Secretary
Office of the Mayor and Executive Committee of the Ville de Montréal
Canada Economic Development
for Quebec Regions
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Ministère de l’Économie, de l’Innovation et de l’Énergie
Tel.: 418-691-5698, ext. 4868
Ville de Montréal
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