Dynamic and creative: Québec City offers an incomparable business environment

Québec City metropolitan region has one of the best-educated workforces and some of the lowest startup and operating costs in North America

In North American terms, Québec City is one of the most dynamic, cutting-edge and economically attractive metropolitan regions, maintaining its leading position year after year.

Known for its breathtaking beauty, the region has experienced record growth in recent years. Resolutely focused on 21st century solutions, Québec City capitalizes on the rise of information and communications technology by embracing economic diversification and developing key sectors of excellence.

Ranked as one of the world’s Top7 Intelligent Communities in 2012 according to the Intelligent Community Forum, Québec City excels by building innovation platforms and fostering synergies between the region’s research sector and its dynamic and creative entrepreneurial communities. Companies find an excellent environment here in which to create, develop and optimize their production processes and service offerings.

Innovative and intelligent, Québec City is home to more than 6,000 researchers and associates. It has one of the highest concentrations of research facilities in Canada, with 400 labs, consortiums and institutes.

Having such a high concentration of intellectual firepower facilitates the creation and development of cutting-edge industrial sectors across the region. This in turn serves to attract growing numbers of specialized workers and innovative firms. These firms reap the benefits of Québec City, which boosts their competitive advantages. An example: business implementation and operating costs are very low across the region. Québec City is an ideal place to do business, but it is also a very liveable city, with low housing and food costs. 

Why Québec City

Québec City is the capital of the province of Québec. The region has solid roots in the knowledge economy, having developed a number of unique niche areas of expertise. Optics/photonics, geospatial technologies, multimedia creation, biopharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals, medical technologies and insurance are among sectors experiencing remarkable growth in recent years in Québec City.

The regional economy boasts one of the highest economic growth rates in Canada. It has also recorded some of the lowest unemployment rates in the country over the past decade. Companies find that Québec City offers an ideal environment for R&D thanks to its specialized, highly educated workforce and its world-class infrastructure.

In general, it costs much less for companies to set up operations in the metropolitan region than elsewhere in Canada or the U.S. In Québec City, all economic development stakeholders work together to meet investors’ and entrepreneurs’ needs. That way, business project success is assured.

Business advantage

Every two years, KPMG conducts a global study on business operating costs and other competitiveness factors in more than 110 cities in 14 countries. In KPMG’s Competitive Alternatives 2012, Québec City was ranked #1 among comparably sized Canadian and U.S. cities (500,000 to 2 million residents). Globally speaking, Québec City ranked second, just behind Marseille, France, but ahead of three Canadian cities, Calgary, Winnipeg, and Edmonton, and ahead of Raleigh, North Carolina, and Austin,Texas, in the U.S.

Overall, it is 5.8% cheaper for companies to set up operations and do business in Québec City compared with the average for U.S. cities. In this regard, the region is particularly noteworthy for its high-growth-potential sectors. For R&D-focused companies, such as those specializing in biotechnology, clinical trials or electronic systems development, the cost advantage is 13.8% to 20.5% cheaper on average than in U.S. cities. This advantage is also excellent in the digital entertainment and software development sectors (23.4% and 12.4% cheaper respectively). Québec City’s financial services sector has a cost advantage of 21.4%.

Québec City has confirmed its leadership role by providing a competitive high-quality business environment, not only in North American terms, but globally as well. 

Future plans

The following is an overview of some of the economic development projects in Québec City:

  • 250 projects are underway or have been announced with a total value of $9.5 billion (public infrastructure, industrial, residential, institutional and commercial)
  • Construction of green neighbourhoods
  • Tramway project
  • Expansion of the Québec Port and Jean Lesage International Airport
  • Construction of a new multi-purpose amphitheatre

Thanks to our business and technological achievements over the past 30 years, we have gone from being a tourist destination and political capital to a world-class city with a global presence. The Québec City region must continue to build on this record of success as it realizes its ambition of becoming a truly international capital. Each and every day, we are working to make that dream a reality. — Carl Viel, President and CEO, Québec International. 

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