E-commerce as a vector of improvement

In 2018, when deciding on promising sectors for the future of its territory, SDC District Central did not hesitate for a second to focus on technology. The question of affinity, attributes and possibilities. Four years later, of all the business segments covered by the technology hub, e-commerce is among the most promising.

“Due to its manufacturing history, District Central offers a well-built environment characterized by large spaces, high ceilings and easy access to loading docks. Three elements that e-commerce companies often look for, ”explains SDC District Central CEO Hélène Veilleux.

The affordable level of rents and the fact that the apartment owner’s ecosystem is based in the Central District, which allows them to establish privileged relationships with their tenants, are also on the agenda. “They are real partners, able to support companies in their development. Especially because the volume of rental space offers them great resilience and can accept significant stages of growth, ”summarizes the CEO. Another important attribute to it: the proximity of highways and the ease of transport it provides.

From his point of view, however, the social and economic environment of the territory is proving to be the most profitable. Due to the many benefits that the district offers, many companies specializing in this area have been making District Central their home for several years. Not to mention urban producers and traders in the territory of the territory, whose growing share of activities is also based on the operation of transaction locations. The experience gained and the idea of ​​rubbing these precursors are attractive.

Over the past few years, invited to think about the future together with various socio-economic representatives and residents, the entrepreneurs of the Central District have not only developed a common vision, but have also established ties. Consequently, says Hélène Veilleux, “entrepreneurs have access to the right community by choosing the Central District”.

attract and support

From the same community was born the idea of ​​developing a place dedicated to e-commerce companies and establishing competitions to attract future leaders of this sector in this area. Two projects have now been completed.

In the fall of 2021, a common space, dedicated to e-commerce companies, was indeed inaugurated in the Central District. In addition to the space itself, which provides entrepreneurs with workstations, private meeting rooms and a multimedia studio, ClickSpace also offers logistics solutions for processing and managing à la carte orders.

In the same year, PME MTL Center-Ouest and SDC also launched the District e-commerce competition. With more than $ 100,000 in prizes, including generous incentives to settle in the territory, the initiative proved to be a real success in terms of participation and made it possible to reward three companies. More importantly, the shop window that offered the competition enabled the installation of four new e-commerce companies in the District, namely MTL B-Board, ECOCAT, Murri and Plogit, including two on ClickSpace.

Given the success achieved, PME MTL Center-Ouest and SDC District Central recently confirmed the holding of the second edition of the competition. As last year, scholarships and related prizes will total $ 100,000, split between the three winning companies. The target audience is also the same: young e-commerce businesses in the Central District and those who want to set up there.

Act as a catalyst

However, a new element, both participants and winners will be invited to participate in training and networking activities. The way, according to Hélène Veilleux, is to humanize the process. “Representatives of companies that have submitted their applications will be able to participate in a day of discussions where they will be able to talk to competing partners and local entrepreneurs about the challenges of e-commerce. At the end of the process, 10 finalists will also be invited to a networking activity according to Formula 5 to 7. Winning entrepreneurs will also go on a tour of local partners during which they will be offered products manufactured or marketed in the District. Central. Another way, the CEO specifies, is to ensure that they feel welcome and to develop ties with their corporate neighbors. »

For Alexandre Skerlj, Director of Strategic Initiatives at PME MTL Center-Ouest, there is no doubt that the competition – especially in its current format – has the potential to act as a catalyst for the development of e-commerce entrepreneurship. “Thanks to the quality of the partners involved, the first edition generated 40 applications, which is already a lot. What we want now is to enable even more entrepreneurs to register and, above all, to ensure that they learn things along the way. Online sales today are the first instinct of new entrepreneurs. The role of PME MTL is to support them. Competition is the way to achieve that. ”

One thing is for sure, for the founder of MTL B-Board, the advantages of winning the competition were great. “The fact that companies and organizations such as Canada Post, Shopify, Cascades, Desjardins, PME MTL, ClickSpace and SDC District Central give me this award has given me confidence. First of all, he says, the awards I won, whether it was scholarships or mentoring sessions, enabled me to progress faster in development. »

The application period for the second edition of the competition is in progress. Interested companies have until May 31 to submit applications.

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Guylaine Boucher

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