The Saint-Agnès chapel in the Estrie region, overlooked by mountains with autumnal colours. A popular location for marriages and business activities.

Eastern Townships intervention strategy

Profile and priorities of a region conducive to innovative business development

Portrait of the region

Territory and population

The territory served by the Eastern Towships business office covers the administrative region of Estrie and two regional county municipalities (RCMs) in Montérégie (Haute-Yamaska and Brome-Missisquoi): 467,600 inhabitants, including 162,600 in Sherbrooke, 118 municipalities, Estrie is 33.4% rural vs. 19.1% for all Quebec; aging Estrie population (replacement rate of 87% vs. 96.6% in Quebec, 74.8% in 2021 vs. 81.3% for the province); employment rate and disposable income: Estrie 57.1%/$24,400 and Montérégie 62%/$27,200 vs. 60% and $26,000, respectively, in Quebec.

Economy

1,400 manufacturing companies (17% of jobs vs. 12% in Quebec); 75 foreign-owned subsidiaries.
  • One urban centre (Sherbrooke CMA) containing a strong potential for innovation and innovative SME start-ups; five key sectors: life sciences, clean technology, micro/nanotechnology, ICT and advanced manufacturing.
  • Three central RCMs (Haute-Yamaska, Brome-Missisquoi and Memphrémagog), industrialized but with more traditional sectors (rubber, plastics, metal, marble, agri-food), with the exception of microelectronics concentrated in Bromont; a main tourism hub of the Eastern Townships.
  • Five outlying RCMs (Coaticook, Haut-Saint-François, Val-Saint-François, Les Sources and Le Granit) relying on the forestry, agri-food, mining and tourism industries, and the less developed and more traditional manufacturing industry. However, the presence of BRP and an intermodal terminal creates higher SME potential in the RCM of Val-Saint-François.

Assets

Important manufacturing sector, diversified and clustered in centres of excellence; proximity to US market; strong entrepreneurial culture and environment conducive to the development of a culture of innovation and innovative start-up companies.

Challenges

Increasing technology intensity and competitiveness of traditional sectors; reducing dependence on the US market for exports and attracting tourists; combatting the labour shortage.


Priorities for action 2021

  1. Businesses supported by CED are innovative and growing
    • Priority will be given to SME projects or the organizations that support them, which help increase innovative company start-ups, competitiveness and company growth, particularly through developing and improving products and procedures, adopting digital technologies, improving productivity, increasing production and developing markets. In addition, the business office will support initiatives aimed at improving support services for SMEs at various stages of their development. The business office will provide the Accelerated Growth Service to innovative businesses in the area; it will also focus on SMEs' awareness of the industrial and technological benefits arising from government contracts.
  2. Businesses and regions supported by CED participate in an economy geared toward clean growth
    • Particular attention will be paid to businesses that have developed clean technologies or that want to adopt such technologies, be it at the start-up, pre-market, marketing, expansion or export stage.
  3. Quebec communities benefit from strategic investment that promotes their economic diversification and participation in an inclusive economy
    • Projects contributing to diversification of low economic growth potential RCMs will be prioritized (creation and development of small enterprises, engagement plan, implementation of community economic facilities, etc.). The business office will also support projects aimed at strengthening the positioning of the region's tourism industry and at generating an increase in spending from out-of-province (non-Québec) tourists.

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