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SME Universe | A (free) export readiness program for female entrepreneurs



This is probably not what the new export readiness program for women entrepreneurs just launched by the École des entrepreneurs du Québec would recommend: it is offered free of charge.

Which doesn’t detract from its value, however.

Developed in partnership with the network of ORPEX (regional export promotion organizations) of Commerce international Québec, this new program prepares women entrepreneurs for exporting, through a series of capsules given in asynchronous training on the platform of the ‘school.

“There are about fifteen hours of individual coaching that are offered to each of the entrepreneurs, including two hours in the form of a diagnosis, plus three hours devoted to an intervention plan, and ten hours according to their needs”, describes the director general of the school Michel Fortin.

Financially supported by Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions, the program will be offered free of charge to 85 women entrepreneurs.

“We are calling on women entrepreneurs in all regions of Quebec,” he says. First arrivals, first trained.

The course must be completed no later than March 31, 2023.

An unknown school

The School of Entrepreneurs of Quebec (EEQ) should not be confused with another school of entrepreneurship associated with a dynamic region of Quebec.

“We are a bit of a well-kept secret,” acknowledges Michel Fortin.

The EEQ was officially founded in 2018, when the Service d’aide aux jeunes entreprises (SAJE) in Montreal, which had been supporting young entrepreneurs for 35 years, merged with the school it had created two years earlier.

Quickly, seven other regional centers were added to the NPO’s Montreal campus.

“More than 6,000 entrepreneurs, men and women, take different workshops and courses at school each year,” informs Michel Fortin. And 52% of our clientele is made up of women entrepreneurs. »

The growth preparation course is the fourth offered by the School as part of its Support for women entrepreneurs. More than 1,200 women entrepreneurs have participated so far in the first three pathways, which cover start-up, commercialization and growth.

Women like Martine Lehoux, founder of L’Ensign Verte.

Signs and teachings

Martine Lehoux first led a long career in economic development. “I helped people go into business,” she describes.

During her spare time, she used old boards to make signs on which she painted a word, a maxim, a name, an address. Faced with the success that her creations met with among her friends, she decided to make a business out of it. His, for once.

Founded in 2015, L’Ensigne Vert distributes utilitarian or decorative objects made from recycled pieces of wood.

Manufactured by Martine Lehoux or subcontracted, these items are sold on her website and in 14 points of sale in Estrie. Two of its products are offered on the Fabrique 1840 website of Simons.

The sign maker quickly put one of her own lessons to good use: “One thing I’ve always said to my entrepreneurs is: surround yourself! »

That’s why she signed up for the course sell step by step of the EQE.

“I followed everything they said to do to the letter. I went there because of that. »

The ? At the time of the interview, she was traveling to Quebec City to open a counter for her products in the La Baie store at Galeries de la Capitale — the chain’s sixth store where her items appear in three weeks. This is the result of a process of several months that led her to Toronto, where she put her new sales skills to good use. “I had to present my products in English. »

On her way, she then registered for the course With both feet in its growth.

“I was like, ‘When can I go?’ I said to myself: “My sales are increasing, I must be growing.” I signed up. »

Martine Lehoux firmly intends to register, sooner or (not too) late, for the new export preparation course. She will find answers to her questions there.

“How does it work in terms of labeling outside Quebec? do i put made in Quebec Where made in canada ? Do I change The Green Sign to The Green Sign? I think this course can help us to position ourselves well. »

NuChem acquires IniXium


Roya Tadayon, one of the researchers at NuChem Sciences

Two teams of researchers have just found each other. NuChem Sciences, a contract research company located in Montreal, has just acquired its Laval counterpart, IniXium, to profitably combine their respective expertise. Contract research companies provide contract research services for the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industry. Founded in 2011, NuChem was expert in medicinal chemistry and computational chemistry (numerical chemistry).

For its part, IniXium has specialized since 2014 in “production and biophysical characterization of recombinant proteins, protein crystallography, and screening of fragments by crystallography”. Among others. With this acquisition, NuChem expands its expertise in target proteins. The laboratory production of these biological targets and the understanding of their 3D structure are essential steps in the creation of new drugs.

The combination of the two teams allows the formation of a new structural biology group which will facilitate the “design” of candidate molecules for drug status. With this integration, NuChem now has approximately 270 employees. The merger of the two entities was facilitated by the catalyst of an investment by the Fonds de solidarité FTQ.

A new brand of mounted caravan


Bunkcamp president Josée Bédard, in front of the truck trailer prototype she presented at the Salon du VR de Québec

A new company that hopes to go far. Bunkcamp presented at the Salon du VR de Québec, held from October 27 to 30, its first two models of truck trailer: cabins fitted out for camping that fit in the body of a pickup truck. The company was founded by Josée Bédard, also president of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association of Canada.

The Bunkcamp cabin allows complete autonomy in all seasons, with unprecedented quality and performance features that are revolutionizing the industry, the company claims. Its monocoque cabin, molded in fiberglass and carefully insulated, is equipped with solar panels with a power of up to 500 watts and a fresh water tank of 91 liters. It will allow its owner to get lost in nature, and ideally to come back. This caravan carried for pickup four-door meets a need that has often been expressed to her, says Josée Bédard, also president of Roulottes Chaudière. The design was done by his team. “The challenge was the weight,” she says.

The success of the two prototypes presented at the Salon de Québec justifies the launch of production, which is largely done by hand. “The factory is already in operation, informs the multipresident. We plan to have 15 employees. About fifteen units will be manufactured over the next six months.


About 40 business people from Quebec accompanied the Conseil du patronat du Québec to Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, to take part in the Rencontre des entrepreneurs francophones 2022, which opened on October 27. About twenty Quebec organizations took part in this major economic meeting of the private sector, which brought together nearly 1,200 participants.

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