Ag-Bio Centre: a thriving incubator

The offices of Ag-Bio Centre, “centre for the emergence of companies”, in Lévis

The offices of Ag-Bio Centre, “centre for the emergence of companies”, in Lévis.

Summary

Incubator: Ag-Bio Centre (in French only)

Region: Chaudière-Appalaches

This financial assistance served to: support the pre-start-up and launch of innovative Quebec companies in the biotechnology, agro-biotechnology and environmental science sectors.

 

Ag-Bio Centre: alongside SMEs since 2001

Ag-Bio Centre is one of the 7,000 incubators in the world today. Since 2001, this not-for-profit organization located in Lévis has been supporting the pre-start-up and launch of innovative Quebec companies in the biotechnology, agro-biotechnology and environmental science sectors.

Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) is among Ag-Bio Centre’s top allies. In 2013, a two-year contribution agreement was signed with this incubator. The financial assistance from CED is enabling Ag-Bio Centre to better support its business protégés.

FruitSymbiose, a company incubated by Ag-Bio Centre, designs processes that naturally extend the life of fresh-cut fruit.

FruitSymbiose, a company incubated by Ag-Bio Centre, designs processes that naturally extend the life of fresh-cut fruit.
Source : http://goo.gl/xUn6pf (licence CC BY 2.0)

An incubator that exceeds expectations

“It is in response to requests from the community and with the aim of promoting the economic development of the greater Quebec City–Chaudière-Appalaches region in certain priority niches that the economic players established Ag-Bio Centre,” points out Alain Cadoret, the incubator’s general manager. The organization has experienced progressive success and, gradually, on the strength of its success, [translation] “it began receiving requests from entrepreneurs in Montreal, Sherbrooke and elsewhere in Quebec”.

Today, Ag-Bio Centre is, at any one time, coaching about 15 budding SMEs, 10 more than the number predicted when it was founded. Also, its protégés are not just from the Quebec City–Chaudière-Appalaches region; in fact, one third of them are from outside the region.

A day in the hands of Ag-Bio Centre...

The services that Ag-Bio Centre provides to its clients take various forms. Among other things, the organization helps them refine their business plan and seek out promising sources of funding, makes available to them all types of experts that they need and provides them with access to rooms and specialized equipment.

In particular, however, the incubator increases its protégés’ opportunities for dialoguing with their peers. “Our entrepreneurs especially benefit from the fact that a number of companies that we incubated are still active alongside us and give back part of what Ag-Bio Centre passed on to them,” adds Alain Cadoret.

Ag-Bio Centre’s approach

Ag-Bio Centre has managed to stand out from other incubators by adopting a light operating structure – it has less than five permanent employees – and by forming meaningful partnerships inside and outside the boundaries of the Quebec City-Chaudière-Appalaches region.

“Development of the Quebec regions happens through their co-operation,” notes Alain Cadoret. Hence the reason why Ag-Bio Centre works as much with neighbouring organizations – like TransBIOTech, a biotechnology research and transfer centre in Lévis – as with pillars in other regions, like the Centre de développement bioalimentaire du Québec in Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière.

Ag-Bio Centre plans to go international!

That being said, Ag-Bio Centre will have to become even more highly performing to adequately support its companies in this extremely competitive era. “To support them better, we will have to help them export by joining forces with incubators and technology parks in other countries,” states Alain Cadoret. “While our international partners help our companies become established in Europe and the United States, we will support their protégés in expanding into Quebec.”

The assistance that CED recently provided to Ag-Bio Centre has enabled them to hire an additional resource to meet the needs of the incubated businesses and strengthen its strategic ties with the community.

Who would have believed 15 years ago that, through the action of organizations like Ag-Bio Centre, Lévis and Quebec City would one day fight for a place among the world leaders in the agri-food, biotechnology and environment sectors?

A few of Ag-Bio Centre’s stars

The value of this incubator is equal to that of the roughly 80 companies whose development it has enabled. Among Ag-Bio Centre’s stars are:

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