MONTREAL, May 27, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec announced today the creation of Espace CDPQ, an entrepreneurial ecosystem dedicated to the innovation and globalization of Québec businesses. Located in Place Ville Marie, at the heart of Montréal's business district, and bringing together a number of key players from the entrepreneurial world, Espace CDPQ is a unique initiative in Québec and will remain a permanent gesture marking la Caisse's 50th anniversary.
With Espace CDPQ, la Caisse will give new impetus to the most promising businesses and act as a gateway to global markets, two priorities that are aligned with la Caisse's mandate to generate returns for its clients while contributing to Québec's economic development.
"La Caisse's creation, in 1965, was a fundamentally innovative move," said Michael Sabia, President and Chief Executive Officer of la Caisse. "Over the decades, la Caisse has evolved into the leading institution it is today, both in Québec and in the world. To face the economic challenges of our time, particularly the need to innovate and expand globally, la Caisse must continue to incite Québec businesses to go even further to develop the products and seek out the markets that will ensure their profitability for the next 50 years. Our future prosperity depends on it."
A hub for productive encounters
Far from being a simple real estate endeavor, Espace CDPQ aims to generate synergies and foster productive encounters between key players in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. If each participant brings his speciality, Espace CDPQ is expected to evolve out of the ideas and partnerships that will emerge from each step of the innovation and globalization processes.
"We are pleased to bring together participants with diverse areas of expertise who will have the opportunity to work together on a daily basis, both on-site and virtually, to launch innovation and global expansion projects. By bringing together in one place all these areas of expertise, we firmly believe the benefits will be multiplied. In other words, the total will be more than the sum of its parts."
The activities of Espace CDPQ will be structured around three key pillars:
As a critical element of any constructive process, the ecosystem will put collaboration at the core of its activities. The clearest embodiment of this principle will be the establishment in Montréal of WeWork, a global co-working leader intended for businesses from all industries, at all stages of development. Flexible, open and connected to an international network, this co-working space will serve as a hub for productive encounters and dialogue, as well as a pipeline of projects for other participants in the ecosystem.
This co-working site will substantially contribute to spreading a culture of collaboration, openness and networking that will drive all participants in the ecosystem.
Coaching and assistance
To transform a business project into reality, expert coaching is often required. Accordingly, Espace CDPQ will propose different forms of coaching and assistance tailored to various types of businesses.
The well-known École d'Entrepreneurship de Beauce will have the means to pursue entrepreneurial educational innovation by establishing a presence in Espace CDPQ. The EEB community will use it as a hub to advance its "by and for entrepreneurs" model, which is the transfer of experience from one generation of entrepreneurs to the next. The EEB will thus continue its initiative to contribute to Québec's prosperity.
With 25 years of existence with business owners and an extensive international network, the Business Families Foundation will also establish a presence in Espace CDPQ. Specializing mostly in intrapreneurship, that is, the implementation of new commercial projects within established businesses, the Business Families Foundation will assist Québec businesses seeking to reinvent themselves and ensure their sustainability. These virtual training sessions will be accessible to all regions of Québec.
La Caisse will also create a new globalization lab inside Espace CDPQ. Intended for its portfolio companies, the lab will propose a structured framework to SMEs intent on expanding outside Québec. It will help them develop effective global expansion and commercialization strategies. The lab will connect Québec businesses to innovation and international commercialization experts from la Caisse's global network to sustain the growth of businesses.
Without financing, the best ideas and most conclusive plans cannot materialize. To ensure that promising projects have the means to be executed, Espace CDPQ will host financing options directly linked to innovation and international expansion activities.
Anges Québec and its network of more than 160 private investors will have a presence in Espace CDPQ to identify, finance and play an advisory role with innovative Québec businesses. Anges Québec will therefore have a front-row seat in the development of business opportunities likely to interest its members, who will also be able to propose coaching and promote projects among their own business networks.
La Caisse will also propose a new investment initiative of $50 million to develop the most promising intrapreneurship, growth and global commercialization projects arising out of Espace CDPQ. The specific terms of this investment initiative will be disclosed at the end of 2015, shortly before official inauguration of Espace CDPQ.
A permanent gesture to mark la Caisse's 50th anniversary
Perfectly aligned with its priorities to enable Québec businesses to innovate and expand globally, the creation of Espace CDPQ builds on two of la Caisse's strengths: its expertise in strategic financing and its world-class network. The current participant roster echoes the project's ambition. Other participants will join the initiative over the months to come and will complete the vision.
"With Espace CDPQ, we have the opportunity to leave a real mark commemorating this milestone in the history of la Caisse, while creating a dynamic ecosystem aligned with today's challenges of innovation and global expansion," concluded Mr. Sabia. "We certainly hope the evolution of Espace CDPQ will emulate the success of la Caisse."
ABOUT LA CAISSE DE DÉPÔT ET PLACEMENT DU QUÉBEC
La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec is a long-term institutional investor that manages funds primarily for public and parapublic pension and insurance plans. As at December 31, 2014, it held $225.9 billion in net assets. As one of Canada's leading institutional fund managers, la Caisse invests globally in major financial markets, private equity, infrastructure and real estate. For more information about la Caisse: www.cdpq.com.
SOURCE Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec