[Study] The Québec Entrepreneurship Index 2016

The Québec entrepreneur: four profiles highlighted

Mardi 1 novembre 2016

The Fondation de l’entrepreneurship’s Réseau M  is proud to release the results of the Quebec Entrepreneurship Index (QEI) 2016. The index is presented by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and produced in partnership with the National Bank | HEC Montréal Institute for Entrepreneurship (NBIE) and Leger. The 2016 edition identifies four key entrepreneurship profiles among Quebecers. The index is being launched today in Montréal as part of the Rendez-vous Réseau M 2016, in which 600 business managers and stakeholders will take part.

A panel, moderated by René Vézina, a columnist (Les Affaires, CBC) will react to the Index’s key findings. The panel will include two entrepreneurs - Elizabeth Stefanka (Stefanka) and Louis Têtu (Coveo) - as well as the team that produced the Index (Rina Marchand from Réseau M and Luis Cisneros (NBIE)).

The 2016 Index shows that entrepreneurial intentions among Quebecers have tripled (to 21.0%) from when it was first published in 2009. "This high rate is likely related to numerous efforts made to support a strong entrepreneurial culture in Québec,” says Michèle Boisvert, Executive Vice-President, Business Outreach at Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. “Entrepreneurship promotion initiatives are paying off. Today an entrepreneurship career is not only regarded as legitimate, it has become an optimal choice, especially among young people."

Four key Québec entrepreneur profiles

The Index  was compiled to provide key information in order to accompany Québec entrepreneurs with  their business growth. It can be seen as one of the biggest "market research" efforts of its kind. This included a survey, by Leger, of 2,515 respondents, including 800 Québec business owners and more than 1,000 young people. Two key factors facilitated initial classification: whether the entrepreneur’s business was active internationally and if it had employees. Entrepreneur typologies emerged from analysis of fifteen key indicators. Six of these indicators were reflected in the core DNA of the four major entrepreneur profiles identified (see Table 1).

"Quebec entrepreneurs are vital to our economy. Most play specific and essential roles in our local and regional development fabrics. Others have the potential to create an important leverage effect in Québec’s economy and for our presence on the world stage. How can we support entrepreneurs unless we first get to know them better? That is exactly what the Index 2016 helps accomplish," said Rina Marchand, Senior Director, Content Development and Innovation at Réseau M Fondation de l’entrepreneurship.

  With employees Without employees


(12.1 % of all business owners)


(7.3 %)

Active internationally


Male| Female: 22.9%


Male| Female: 34.7%










Desire to hire


Desire to hire


Desire to innovate


Desire to innovate


Initial intention to internationalize


Initial intention to internationalize
Active locally/regionally


(37.4 %)


(43.2 %)


Male| Female: 31.3%


Male|Female: 44.0%










Desire to hire


Desire to hire


Desire to innovate


Desire to innovate


Will to internationalize, someday


Will to internationalize, someday

Table 1 – The four profiles of Québec entrepreneurs and their six key indicators – Quebec (November 2016)
* This is a Z-score, with 0 being the population average. Values ​​above 0 are above average for the population.

Individualist entrepreneurs account for almost half of Index respondents. Their primary goal is to create their own jobs by leveraging a highly targeted niche. Established entrepreneurs account for more than a third of the total. Their businesses often have regional scale and are thus significant employment generators. Entrepreneurs in these two groups are less likely to have completed university studies than those in the other two profiles. By comparison, Prudent entrepreneurs are more often found to have a university degree. However, they form a relatively small proportion of the entrepreneurial pool. A low propensity to take risks and willingness to hire constitute major obstacles for those in this group. Leader entrepreneurs stand out due to their high levels of education, intention to go international from the inception of their business model, willingness to hire and innovate, and propensity to take risks. Men form the largest proportion in the Leader group, while women, are best represented in Individualist category, in which they account for nearly half the total.

"The knowledge, experience and contacts that universities make available, can provide entrepreneurs with a short-cut to the usual business internationalization cycle and often lead to entrepreneurs taking their first steps abroad while they are developing their business models. We can definitely do more to promote entrepreneurship in higher education, but we also need to promote entrepreneurs who are “born global,”" said Luis Cisneros, Director of the National Bank | HEC Montréal Institute for Entrepreneurship.

An entrepreneurial chain supported by youth and immigrants

Entrepreneurial chain indicators have been relatively stable since 2015. The slight increase in entrepreneurial intentions noted, stemmed in large part from youth aged 18 to 34 years (a group in which intentions increased from 36.6% in 2015 to 42.2% in 2016). Immigrants, not surprisingly, continue to form a high proportion of entrepreneurs, including 22.4% of Leaders, an impressive total relative to their overall 11.2% weight in the adult population of the Indice respondents. Further efforts clearly need to made to support this "naturally entrepreneurial" group.

Women retain only a modest presence in the entrepreneurial chain. Particularly surprising is the fact that there are so few Québec women in the Leader profile (22.9%), which is dominated by those with higher educations. The fact that there are far more Québec women in college than men would lead one to expect more women “Leaders.”  The shortfall is in part due to a lower propensity among women to take risks. That said, strong support for this group is crucial, as women form a large “reserve” which represents the future of entrepreneurship in Québec.

Québec entrepreneurial chain 2016



18-34 years




























Table 2 – Synthesis of entrepreneurial dynamism by population group – Québec (November 2016)


We also note, as in 2015, a low number of people attempting to start manufacturing businesses (5.3%), relative to interest in professional services (16.9%) and retail trade (12.0%).



The main expected support in all cases relates a desire to learn from experiences of existing entrepreneurs (their "good and bad moves" 43.4%), followed by "promoting risk taking" (14.4%). Entrepreneurs wanted support persons that have entrepreneurship experience, a large majority of respondents said (78.4%), as well as management experience (61.5%).


The keys to our entrepreneurial future

While easing entrepreneurs to new profiles (particularly towards the Leader profile) is hard, the key to our entrepreneurial future lies with specific groups of individuals:

  • Stimulate entrepreneurial intentions among university students as well as their ability to create internationally-oriented business models on Day 1;
  • Provide more entrepreneurship support for immigrants, as they are already very active in the entrepreneurial chain and they are born risk-takers;
  • Support women, an untapped "entrepreneurial reserve," by developing a culture among them that is favorable to entrepreneurship, networking and risk-taking.


A free copy of the report (in French), including a summary of the methodology, is available at the following link: www.entrepreneurship.qc.ca/indice2016.


About the Fondation de l’entrepreneurship’s Réseau M

Réseau M is a community of interest, implemented and led by the Fondation de l’entrepreneurship, and mobilized to provide a mentoring service for entrepreneurs throughout Québec and the French-speaking world in general. The Fondation also publishes the Indice entrepreneurial québécois. Réseau M aims to offer all motivated entrepreneurs with high-calibre support services provided by seasoned business people. With Réseau M, businesses can accelerate their development and thus increase their chances for survival and foster their growth, from inception through to maturity and/or transfer of ownership. In Québec, Réseau M relies on the major support of the Ministère de l’Économie, de la Science et de l’Innovation (MESI), and on the government support of Canada Economic Development and the Youth Secretariat. Réseau M also relies on great builders to carry out its mission, namely National Bank, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Cascades and Québecor, as well as on the following partners: Royal Bank of Canada, Cogeco, DELTA | KLM | AIR FRANCE | ALITALIA, Desjardins Entreprises, Fonds de solidarité FTQ, Hydro‐Québec, Investissement Québec, Léger, La Capitale Assurances générales, TACT Intelligence‐conseil and Tink. Follow us: www.reseaum.com #ReseauM


About Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec

Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) is a long-term institutional investor that manages funds primarily for public and parapublic pension and insurance plans. As at June 30, 2016, it held $254.9 billion in net assets. As one of Canada's leading institutional fund managers, CDPQ invests globally in major financial markets, private equity, infrastructure and real estate. For more information, visit cdpq.com, follow us on Twitter @LaCDPQ or consult our Facebook or LinkedIn pages.


About the National Bank | HEC Montréal Institute for Entrepreneurship

The mission of the National Bank | HEC Montréal Institute for Entrepreneurship is to identify, analyze and highlight the issues that Quebec’s business leaders and SME owners are faced with, as well as to encourage and support business start-ups and entrepreneurial acquisitions. The Institute has four key pillars: (1) An observatory of Quebec entrepreneurial trends and good practices; (2) A start-up accelerator for innovative business projects; (3) A centre for knowledge transfer and customized training; (4) A networking and events space. For more information about the Institute, visit our website iebn.hec.ca or follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn  or Twitter.



For more information:

Réseau M de la Fondation de l’entrepreneurship
Rina Marchand
Senior Director, Content and Innovation
514 873-3262, Ext. 226

Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec
Jean-Benoît Houde
Senior Advisor, Media Relations
514 847-5493


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