FedDev Ontario Invests in New Program to Support Francophone Entrepreneurs

News release

$1.35 million for Collège La Cité to provide tailored support for 350 Franco-Ontarian businesses

May 23, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario

Strong, vibrant Francophone communities are key to unlocking the potential of the Canadian economy. That is why the Government of Canada is creating the right conditions for Francophone entrepreneurs to succeed in an increasingly competitive world.

Today, Mona Fortier, Member of Parliament for Ottawa Vanier, announced that FedDev Ontario is providing Collège La Cité (La Cité) with $1.35 million to launch new entrepreneurial programming for Franco-Ontarians. The announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario.

This funding will allow La Cité to offer personalized coaching to Francophone entrepreneurs, with a focus on women, youth and immigrants, under the umbrella of the college’s accelerator for established Francophone businesses. The programming will be delivered at a new centre for Francophone entrepreneurs, called La Factorie Desjardins, which will help to bring innovative ideas for new products and services to market, specifically in the areas of bio-innovation, intelligent prototyping and agri-food. Over a five-year period, 350 businesses will receive support and 55 jobs will be created or maintained in southern Ontario. For more information, including how to apply, visit www.collegelacite.ca/accelerateur-entreprises.

FedDev Ontario’s funding for La Cité is through the Economic Development Initiative (EDI), a national program delivered by the regional development agencies across Canada, which builds on the strengths of each region to facilitate sustainable economic growth in official language minority communities.


“Our Francophone communities are a powerful engine for economic growth within southern Ontario and across the country. This funding will help up-and-coming entrepreneurs, in particular women, youth and immigrants, bring their ideas to life and create new opportunities for official language minority communities to continue to grow and thrive.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

“As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act, we are reminded of the importance of investing in projects, such as this one, that support the continuity and vitality of the French-speaking population. The Francophone entrepreneurial community will benefit from the strategic coaching provided by La Cité and a network of partners who are committed to seeing Francophones contribute fully to the regional economy and Canadian society.”
– The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie

“This funding will foster economic growth here in Ottawa and across the region by responding to the unique needs of Francophone entrepreneurs. By offering targeted coaching, this project also aims to promote the French language in a minority language setting as an asset for economic development and diversification.”
– Mona Fortier, Member of Parliament for Ottawa Vanier

“Always on top of the latest market developments, La Cité is proposing a novel approach adapted to the reality of Francophone small- and medium-sized enterprises. At La Factorie Desjardins, we offer entrepreneurs the opportunity to be at the centre of their innovation process, from their initial idea to when it is put on the market. By applying an agile, collaborative, co-creative model involving experts, researchers and students, we will enable entrepreneurs to achieve the results they want more quickly and more efficiently.”
– Lise Bourgeois, President and CEO, Collège La Cité

Quick facts

  • Founded in Ottawa in 1989, La Cité is the largest French-language college of applied arts and technology in Canada outside of Quebec.

  • La Factorie Desjardins, a co-creation space located on the 2nd floor of La Cité’s new Excentricité immersive pavilion on its Ottawa campus, will focus on transmitting knowledge to entrepreneurs through business services that enable entrepreneurs to be at the centre of their own project through trials, demonstrations and hands-on experience.

  • To deliver the project, La Factorie Desjardins will work with a number of partners, including Desjardins, the Société économique de l’Ontario, the Regroupement des gens d’affaires de la capitale nationale, the Prescott–Russell Community Development Corporation and local school boards.

  • Today’s announcement builds on previous FedDev Ontario contributions to La Cité of nearly $1.86 million to support the college’s growth as a top French-language post-secondary institution in southern Ontario, focusing on applied research in fields such as agriculture, biotechnology, construction industry processes and agri-food.

  • This year marks 10 years of FedDev Ontario delivering funding and business services to support innovation and growth in southern Ontario.

Associated links


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