Innovation: $61 million in loans to 18 SMEs

In just over two years, Investissement Québec (IQ) has supported 18 projects in Laval as part of the Productivity Innovation Initiative, with a total of $61.3 million in public funding.

This is the regional report that this public company has produced since the launch – in the fall of 2020 – of this program aimed at increasing business productivity, competitiveness and growth.

Exploitation

These investments drawn from own funds and the large ESSOR fund resulted in total investments of $222.7 million in the city region. “Each dollar invested generated 3.6 dollars in private investment”, specifies the regional director of Laval and Outaouais, Guylaine Larose, during a telephone interview.

Last month, for example, Investissement Québec announced an interest-free loan of $4 million to the French company Sonepar International in the wake of expansion and modernization work in the Lumen distribution center and the automation of its cable cutting, a project worth $90 million. . In this specific case, the leverage effect will have been around 22.5.

At the other end of the spectrum, the manufacturer of high-precision mechanical and electrical products MEP Technologies used loans totaling $1,320,000 to finance the acquisition of innovative and automated technological equipment at a cost of $1.65M.

Labor shortage

The ESSOR program was implemented to encourage companies to initiate or accelerate their digital transformation and automation of their operations.

The aim is “to increase the operational efficiency of companies […] do more with less and at the same time increase employee well-being,” Larose argues.

Referring to the shortage of workers that was already raging before the pandemic, she specifies that this technological shift is all the more crucial to maintain the competitiveness of companies in the sense that it “limits their dependence on the workforce”.

In this connection, she adds that “job creation is no longer a decisive criterion in connection with our analyses”. Moreover, if the interventions of Investissement Québec always contribute to the creation of new positions, the financial part of the provincial government is not able to quantify them within the framework of the ESSOR program.

Provincial report

For all of Quebec, 688 projects have been supported, representing financial interventions of more than $2 billion since the fall of 2020.

The total value of these projects financed through the ESSOR fund exceeds $6 billion, while the teams from Investissement Québec – CRIQ provided around 3,700 support sessions to help companies execute a technology project.

At the halfway point, the representative of the Quebec government points out that the funding goal of $2.4 billion over 4 years has been reached by 84% and that investment projects continue to flow.

Finally, Investissement Québec points out that the productivity innovation initiative covers the entire production value chain and targets companies in manufacturing, mining, construction, wholesale, retail, transport and storage, professional, scientific and technical services other than waste management and remediation services. .

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