Never Mind the Valley: Here’s Montreal

The largest primarily French-speaking city outside of Paris, Montreal is the second largest city in Canada and the largest in the province of Quebec. Despite some claims to the contrary, Montreal still maintains it is the cultural capital of Canada, and the city is often rated as one of the world’s most livable.

Montreal is an important center for Canadian finance, telecommunications, aerospace, and software industries. Some reports state that as many as a third of the region’s workers are part of the “creative class” – scientists, technology workers, entertainers, artists and designers. Montreal and Quebec have the highest level of tax credit support for developer salaries: For every $1 spent on developers, companies can get up to 65 cents back in cash from the government. And with six universities and twelve junior colleges within a 5 mile radius, Montreal has the highest concentration of post-secondary students of all the major cities in North America.

And it’s that blend of industry, education, creativity and finance that might be the key to making Montreal a good site for startups. As Aidan Nulman, co-founder of YouPhonics argues, “Montreal’s been a great community to incubate my company in. What’s not to like about universities feeding fantastic talent into a bilingual global arts hub that gets major support from its provincial and federal government?”

RWW’s Never Mind the Valley series:

There are numerous networking events held in the Montreal startup community, including StartupDrinks, a monthly freestyle gathering hosted in pubs and bars.

Montreal boasts several programs to support entrepreneurship, including Flow Ventures, a tech startup accelerator that provides seed capital and hands-on operational support to early-stage ventures.

According to investor and entrepreneur Mark MacLeod, a partner at Real Ventures and a blogger at StartupCFO, “Montreal is poised to become a dominant player in the market for startup capital in Canada. Real Ventures is getting set to announce a new fund. Larger players like Rho and others will all be announcing new funds soon as well. And of all the provinces, Quebec is most committed to funding technology with a $ 700M fund of funds being created less than a year ago.”

MacLeod and others point to the “world-friendly angle” of Montreal, its multicultural and multilingual make up, arguing this makes the city a good link between the European and North American tech industries.

Photo credits: Flickr user Richard Taylor

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