A movement launched in Quebec this past week that will bring together all sectors of the tech industry and work as an advocacy group to raise awareness in the rest of Canada and the world.
“We say it’s a movement because this is not a finite group, this is the beginning of something,” Sylvain Carle, Partner at Real Ventures, told MTLinTECH.
In the next two years, Quebec will undertake the most ambitious strategy to date to promote the province’s technology industry. The movement is called Technopolys, a contraction of the word “technology” and the French words pôle (cluster) and lys (lily, the provincial emblem).
Like the plans developed by other digital capitals in France and the US, Technopolys aims to generate a sense of collective pride and engagement within the industry, and is being spearheaded by companies, universities, and associations.
“This technology sector, or ICT as it has been called historically, has always been represented by a bunch of different organizations. With their memberships and their pros and cons and different agendas. And it became clear as TechnoMontréal was doing this process of listening, of asking around, that this was hurting the industry as a whole. Both locally and internationally. We believe that Montreal, and Quebec as a whole, were being underrepresented. That we had much more punch than what we were delivering. So we came up with this idea of finding a common brand, what would be our tag.”
The goal is to create a movement embodied by the leaders of the industry that is capable of inspiring a sense of collective pride, attracting the younger generations, and promoting the strengths and significance of the technoloy sector for Quebec society.
It was a no brainer for me that we needed to do this, but I know how complex it can be. My mission there was to say that I would join but this has to be a collaborative process. We have to be inclusive. And we have to build something that will stand the next decade. So stop calling it ICT, stop saying the tech industry. Technology is in every sector now, this is what we should represent. It shouldn’t just be consulting firms and tech startups. This is broader, which makes it a bit harder to discern. But I think it’s better because of that.
“Instead of saying ‘this is it’, we said we would do it in two phases. The first phase is the starting point. How do we work together to bring this to the next level. That’s what’s been launched now. That’s why it’s more like industry outreach, it’s more B2B, with the goal of having this year long process to get to a campaign for the next two years after. To get more students in tech, to have better immigration in tech, to represent the tech sector across Canada but also across the rest of the world. So it’s really advocacy.”
To help raise awareness, the message, designed by the industry, for the industry, will be transmitted by the movement’s five ambassadors: Yoshua Bengio, associate professor and scientific director at IVADO; Isabelle Bettez, co-founder of 8D technologies and member of the board of directors of Motivate; Sylvain Carle, Partner at Real Ventures; Serge Godin, founder and executive chairman of the board of CGI; Louis-Philippe Maurice, CEO of Busbud.
“The second thing, for me personally, is that these trade associations or tech industry groups really felt like startups were underrepresented. So it felt like part of a conscious effort to acknowledge that startups are a big part of that ecosystem, and everyone should work together. So we have CGI at one end of the spectrum, the biggest tech employer, and then tiny startups with a lot of potential. We really wanted to cover the gamut.”
Technopolys is looking for companies of all sizes and backgrounds to add their voice to the movement so everyone can work together to develop a a common plan of action that will start with an initial two year cycle.
“But hopefully if we do a good job on this, it will be going long after the first two years. We wanted something that was strongly representative of Quebec, but also neutral. And we didn’t want it to be centered in Montreal. So this idea of Technopolys, which is kind of a wink to metropolis as well, a little bit old school, a little bit geeky, but also fairly modern and neutral.”
The first step for interested parties is to get in touch with part of the Technopolys team. The website, Techopolys.ca, is already up and running, and you can reach out online. The ambassadors of Technopolys will also be present at upcoming events, including a luncheon on November 15th to discuss the current state of thinking and how everyone can better work together.
“It was a no brainer for me that we needed to do this, but I know how complex it can be. My mission there was to say that I would join but this has to be a collaborative process. We have to be inclusive. And we have to build something that will stand the next decade. So stop calling it ICT, stop saying the tech industry. Technology is in every sector now, this is what we should represent. It shouldn’t just be consulting firms and tech startups. This is broader, which makes it a bit harder to discern. But I think it’s better because of that.”