Greater Montréal, a Brain-Powered Economy

Québec’s metropolis has outperformed most major North American cities during the recent economic downturn

Greater Montréal’s leadership position in four high technology sectors makes it a prime destination for multinational companies. Metropolitan Montréal is recognized as one of the leading world hubs in the aerospace, cleantech and ICT industries. In addition, Greater Montréal is a leader in life sciences with the presence of several large biotechnology, pharmaceutical and health technologies companies.

Greater Montréal is an ideal jumping-off point for any business wanting to deploy a North American marketing strategy. The region is located an hour and a half flight from other major urban centres such as Boston and New York, and less than an hour’s drive from the U.S. border. Greater Montréal’s ideal geographic location facilitates access through the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to the world’s largest trading block and 460 million consumers.

The people of Montréal, many of whom were trained in the city’s world-class educational institutions, are the region’s key selling point. The city hosts eleven centres of higher learning that feed its talent pool. There are four major universities, plus colleges teaching close to 350,000 students. These institutions also benefit from the largest pool of university research funding in Canada. In fact, Montréal hosts more recently trained graduates than any other city in the country.

Greater Montréal is a cosmopolitan, bilingual and international region, with a distinct personality serving as a bridge between North America and Europe. It’s a cultural, recreational, sports and green city, whose talent and technology are recognized around the globe.

Why Greater Montréal

Greater Montréal has one of the most stable and resilient economies in North America. Between 2008 and 2010, despite the global economic slowdown, total employment in the region increased by 1.8%. That puts the Québec metropolis in the top ranks of the 20 largest North American urban centres when considering total change in employment.

Greater Montréal’s high economic performance is mainly due to the diversity of its industrial structure, the strength of its high-technology sectors and its vast pool of qualified workers.

High-tech companies will find a critical mass of industry leaders, talent, infrastructure and partners to provide a solid foundation for their activities in North America, particularly in aerospace, life sciences and health technologies, information and communications technologies and clean technologies.

Companies come to Greater Montréal for a variety of reasons. The city offers fabulous natural and economic assets ranging from its strategic geographical position to low corporate tax rates, and its competitive and highly creative labour force.

Business advantage

Montréal International (MI) contributes to the economic development of Greater Montréal and enhances its international status. As a one-stop shop organization, MI offers a range of customized, free, confidential services.

  • Strategic support: MI provides foreign companies with valuable assistance for setting-up, expansion or strategic alliance projects. The companies can take full advantage of business opportunities to power business development
  • Sector expertise: MI coordinates the services required to advance promising projects and provides foreign companies contemplating relocating with information and advice on technology sectors such as aerospace, life sciences and health technologies, ICT and cleantech
  • Knowledge of financial and fiscal programs: Companies settling in Greater Montréal can benefit from various government programs. MI helps identify the financial and tax incentives that are right for each project as well as various potential funding sources
  • Site selection data: MI can provide a full range of comparative key information on Greater Montréal’s business environment (availability of talent, innovation, operating costs, etc.)
  • Government relations: Every company benefits from the privileged relations that MI maintains with its federal, provincial and municipal partners, business and financial networks, universities and research centres
  • International mobility: MI assists companies and organizations seeking to hire strategic international workers by providing assistance with paperwork and easing the settlement process for individuals and their families in Greater Montréal

Future plans

Greater Montréal is faced with a constantly evolving socioeconomic context. Although it already competes favourably with other large American cities, Greater Montréal regularly updates its economic development strategy to enhance its performance and attractiveness. The purpose of the region’s 2010-2015 Economic Development Plan is to stimulate growth of the metropolitan economy. More specifically, it is intended to lead to:

  • Substantial productivity gains in Greater Montréal
  • More private investment, which will contribute to economic development and job creation
  • More business innovation, so as to encourage productivity
  • More university graduates, to join the regional pool of skilled labour
  • Better integration of immigrants into the labour market

This new economic development strategy continues to evolve around the current focus on metropolitan sector strengths.

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