OUR ADVICE – With a diversified economy oriented towards sectors with high growth potential, Québec offers a place to choose from on the Canadian scene and a gateway to the North American market.
This article has been taken down Special Figaro “From East to West – Live in Canada Why Not You?” This number allows you to answer the questions you ask yourself as simply as possible. This with the help of practical texts, maps and testimonies from French people living in Canada.
Within Canada, 70% of the head offices of French subsidiaries are located in Quebec. Almost 500 companies from France are located in La Belle province, creating around 30,000 jobs there. For more than half, they chose to settle in the Montreal region.
While many large groups arrived a long time ago, some more than a century ago, like Air Liquide in 1911, more and more innovative SMEs are trying the adventure. They have found in Quebec a territory that gives them privileged access to the North American market. The language, the quality of life and the ease of taking steps to start a business are all assets that attract future entrepreneurs. Notable French subsidiaries include Ubisoft, one of the largest digital game publishers in the world, as well as Sanofi, L’Oréal, Transdev, Veolia, Danone and Bonduelle.
In Quebec, growth is still there with a 6.3% increase in real GDP in 2021 and an expectation of around 2.7% for 2022 (source Quebec Ministry of Finance). However, some sectors stand out, whether in historical or new areas. The aviation industry, with old players such as Bombardier, Pratt & Whitney or Rolls-Royce and newer ones such as Bell Textron, Safran, Thales or even Airbus, remains an important engine of growth.
Quebec is one of the only places in the world that offers such generous tax credits to the multimedia industry
The ICT sector is also experiencing a real boom with artificial intelligence and deep learning. Companies in the food industry (fruits and vegetables, pork, milk and the famous maple syrup), life sciences (pharmaceuticals, biotechnologies), land transportation equipment (recreational vehicles, buses, trains) are among the flagships of Quebec. . Not to mention the mining sector and its wide range of metals and minerals. Quebec is also one of the only places in the world that offers such generous tax credits to the multimedia industry, which can represent up to 37.5% of labor costs.
Calls are encouraged
One thing is for sure, starting a business in Quebec is much easier than in France. The market and the government encourage vocations. However, being successful in business, as they say here, is a completely different challenge. Many new companies do not pass the 5-year mark. So you must prepare well. If you have capital, this allows you to enter one of the three categories of business people offered by MIFI (entrepreneur, investor or self-employed).
It is also possible and easy, when you live in Quebec with your permanent residence, to become self-employed and start an entrepreneurial activity. However, such an adventure cannot be improvised, as is evident from the French who have embarked. Cultural and linguistic proximity should not hide the many differences between French and North American practices.
Take care of the appearance
Although it is true that being able to express oneself in French in Quebec is a significant advantage, we must not forget that an ocean separates the two continents. The phrase attributed to George Bernard Shaw who described England and the United States as two countries “separated by the same language” applies perfectly to France and Quebec. People who want to invest or make a commitment arrive in virgin territory and want everything or almost everything to learn. It is also better to avoid any often misleading comparison with French ways of doing things.
It is therefore advisable to succeed in the establishment of several voyages of discovery to immerse yourself in the North American culture and meet new people. Quebecers have a reputation for being open to business proposals and it is much easier to make contact with decision makers than in France. This “network” helps establish an initial circle of trust. Agencies such as CCI France Canada, Montreal and Quebec International or Classe Affaires Canada France can also advise you and help you set up your project. Entrepreneurship in Quebec is within everyone’s reach, but you still need to be well prepared.
And why not the franchise?
3 questions for… Xavier Chambon, President of the Conseil québécois de la franchise.
Le Figaro. –How important is the franchise in Quebec?
Xavier CHAMBON. – Out of 100 companies, 35 are duty-free. There are 1300 franchise networks in Canada compared to about 2000 in France. Reduced to the number of inhabitants, this makes Canada the world champion of franchising. However, note that Quebec is below the other Canadian provinces. A phenomenon largely due to mandatory adaptations due to its French-speaking specificity. North American brands thus shun this small French-speaking market with only 8.6 million inhabitants.
What is special about Quebec?
A first difference is that there is no specific franchising law as in France, the United States or even in Ontario. In Quebec, franchise agreements are governed by the Civil Code. The other great peculiarity of Quebec is the defense of the language. You may only submit brand names written in French and written in accordance with the conventions of Quebec. For example, when the French brand Decathlon wanted to set up shop, it had to put an acute accent on the é, because in Quebec capital letters are accented.
What are your tips for setting up a franchise in Quebec?
You should not come to Quebec just for Quebec. It is best to strategically consider this company as a gateway to the North American market. My second piece of advice would be not to skip the three phases of franchising, namely the exploratory journey (market research), the establishment (business plan, financing, launch) and the development (franchise contracts, training, locations, etc.).
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