As Québec City’s international profile grows, employment and investment growth are outpacing the Canadian average in a number of areas, thanks to a variety of rapidly expanding business sectors including IT and life sciences.

“What sets us apart on the international stage are lower operating costs and taxation rates, along with a growth rate comparable to many Canadian cities,” says Carl Viel, CEO at Québec International. “But it is mostly our way of doing business that differentiates us. Cooperation is in our DNA and, because of the size of our city, we need to rely on the imagination of our residents, and keep a keen eye on newly developing trends. And to ensure we are properly prepared to meet the future, we continuously work at shaping it.”

Success spread across several sectors

Québec City is among the top 10 cities in the world in terms of industrial diversity. Whereas many regions rely heavily on one or two sectors, approximately 45 percent of the Québec City region’s GDP is spread amongst seven main industries.

According to Québec International, a regional economic development agency jointly funded by the federal, provincial, and local governments, insurance and financial services is the largest contributor, with more than 500 companies and 10 international headquarters based in the Québec City area. It is followed closely by information and communication technology (ICT), with 400 companies.

Approximately 150 food and nutrition companies also operate out of the Québec City region, while life sciences and electronics and optics/photonics are also large contributors to the local GDP, with 120 and 115 companies respectively.

“Unlike other provinces that have chosen to specialize in specific sectors, in Québec City, what has guaranteed our success over the years is our varied expertise in different fields,” says Viel. “It’s something we’ve been building for over 25 years, by tirelessly developing it and carefully advocating for it. On such rich and fertile ground, clusters of expertise quickly proliferate and alliances are forged to stimulate the creation of synergies between business and industry.”

Sound strategies and individual support

Varied is also an excellent description of the strategic programs available in the city. Designed to accelerate business growth, these programs are used to support key clusters, while also attracting talent and investment to the region.

Québec International’s incubator-accelerator, LE CAMP, enables tech entrepreneurs to grow their businesses in optimum conditions, while the entrepreneur in residence program, funded by the City of Québec provides access to technology from the National Optics Institute.

Québec City’s Technology Showcase Program allows businesses to test their innovative products in real conditions by covering up to 75 percent of a project’s total cost. Innovation Consortiums then bring together private and public stakeholders to help new businesses master the marketplace.

“Also, unprecedented collaborations, supported by government and private sector leaders, as well as regional socioeconomic stakeholders, have given rise to dozens of initiatives aimed at increasing the competitiveness of both the region and its businesses,” Viel says of the Innovation Consortiums.

The growth and success of Québec City can be attributed to plentiful employment opportunities, a willingness to welcome international workers, and an exceptional quality of life. However, according to Viel, what really sets Québec City apart is the level of customized support offered to businesses and workers alike, and the ability to work together to develop winning solutions for businesses, their customers, and the region.