Quebec, MIT join forces for new tech training program


The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, MIT and the government of Quebec have all joined forces to offer a new entrepreneurship training program to be taught by expert mentors like Daniel Robichaud and Martin-Luc Archambault.

According to La Presse’s Karim Benessaieh, the new program will be held this summer in June for 20 to 25 students. It’ll be housed at the l’École d’entrepreneurship de Beauce (EEB) in Saint-Georges, which lies 300 km from Montreal and 100 km from Quebec City.

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“I’m going to be giving entrepreneurs lessons on how to avoid mistakes I’ve made in my life. How to hire the best employees, how to motivate your employees, how to raise money and how you build products that people love. Basically, things I’ve learned over the years that I can share,” said Robichaud, a Montreal entrepreneur who has built and sold several startups. His most recent venture, PasswordBox, was sold to Intel in 2014.

Other experts will include Archambault, another well-known Montreal entrepreneur having sold several of his own companies. He recently launched an audio app called AmpMe. Also involved will be Eric Chouinard (iWeb, Wealthica) and Louis Tetu (Coveo).

The program is divided into five sessions, with each session ranging from one to six days, spread over ten months. There will be three trips of three days each to EEB, six days at MIT and one Demo Day-like event to be held in Montreal.

“This is a unique course developed by tech entrepreneurs for tech entrepreneurs,” Katia Renaud, director of R&D at the EEB told La Presse. She added that incubators in Canada and Quebec do a great job, but the companies that come out are not always supported financially. Ideally, this new program can help change that.

According to La Presse, the program’s cost is $40,000. However, some organizations will offer grants to facilitate access to the program, including the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), which will offer a grant of $10,000 to an accepted candidate.

The program is meant for those founders who run “established and growing companies, which have already taken a first round of financing,” the program’s director Katia Renaud told La Presse. She added that the program is “not to offer a full-time return to the classroom.”

Robichaud, who told MTLinTech that he’s volunteering his time for the initiative, said he’s excited for founders in the province to get this type of education.

“I’ve been to MIT entrepreneurship lessons myself, in the past, and it’s really interesting. I think it’s a good thing for Quebec entrepreneurs to get in touch with these people. I learned a lot when I was there.”

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