La SUITE entrepreneuriale Desjardins Renews its Agreement

Luc Cyrenne, Project Director of Regional Economic Development; Emmanuel Bergeron, Director of Regional Economic Development; Martin Belzile, Executive Director at CIDAL; and Joanne Doucet, Coordinator at La SUITE entrepreneuriale Desjardins.

La SUITE entrepreneuriale Desjardins is an incubator for start-ups that was launched in 2020 by the Corporation d’innovation et développement Alma – Lac-Saint-Jean-Est (CIDAL) and is supported by Rio Tinto’s Regional Economic Development (RED). The SUITE has already proven its effectiveness and is entering its second year with the wind in its sails. Its impressive results led to the RED and the SUITE renewing the agreement for a three-year period.

With a launch budget of $745,000, the SUITE has been able to support 11 businesses to date, 32% of which were started by women. Joanne Doucet, Coordinator at the SUITE, said, “One of our goals for 2021 is to get more women interested in starting a business so as to diversify the field, which is still predominantly represented by men. Diversity is important in the business world, and we want to be part of this movement.” In addition to the 11 businesses supported, 17 training sessions were provided to businesses in the region. These sessions generated a great deal of interest, attracting a total of 345 participants. “In just one year, the SUITE entrepreneuriale has produced impressive results,” said Luc Cyrenne, Project Director of RED. “They have gained credibility and above all, they fulfil an important need in the region. Renewing this agreement for a three-year period was a natural decision for us.”

For Joanne Doucet, Rio Tinto’s support from the beginning of the venture has had a significant impact on financing. She said, “For an incubator that is starting up, it is very important to have credible allies—they are powerful levers that make it possible for us to seek financing from other major partners. This agreement renewal is an excellent sign and will allow us to pick up the pace in supporting even more entrepreneurs in the years to come.