On November 23, the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal hosted speaker Sophie Larivière-Mantha, President of the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec (OIQ).
Ms. Larivière-Mantha looked back at her initial months at the helm of the OIQ. She addressed her vision for the engineering profession in Quebec and the mobilization of the OIQ to act on issues, such as public protection, sustainable development, and diversity. She also unveiled the OIQ’s new study on entrepreneurship in engineering.
The contribution of engineering to society
Public protection is the primary mission of a professional order, as Sophie Larivière-Mantha pointed out in her opening remarks, but engineering also plays an important role in society. Whether in the fight against climate change, or in the biomedical, transportation, energy, health, and food sectors, engineers are invariably involved.
“Engineering is essential to major projects in society, and a good example can be found in entrepreneurship: engineers are innovators. Our study shows that 15% of OIQ engineers own their own business and that 50% of engineering students want to start a business.”
– Sophie Larivière-Mantha, President of the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec
According to the same OIQ study, 80% of these engineers in entrepreneurship had created a product or service related to their education in engineering
“Three fields stand out for their achievements: civil engineering, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering. But other fields, such as computer and industrial engineering, are bound to be better represented in the future.”
A real impact for Quebec
Members of the OIQ have a presence throughout the province. Most are found in Montréal, but many work in regions such as the Mauricie, Chaudière-Appalaches and, for natural resources, the Nord-du-Québec.
“The contribution of engineering to the economy is clear: one in ten engineering businesses has over $1 million in sales, and they have four times more patents than all other SMEs.”
However, adverse political and economic trends are also on the horizon.
“The labour shortage is a challenge shared by all professions, in entrepreneurship, in engineering and in the economy in general. To address this problem, we must improve productivity through automation, robotization, and innovation.”
Green shift and upcoming challenges
According to the head of the OIQ, engineers are in the best position to make ESG criteria (environmental, social, and governance) part of their business approach.
“Adapting buildings, working on components, and developing green technology are all engineering areas of expertise. We need to continue our involvement in sustainable development, and we have business partners well positioned to do so.”
The OIQ points to a promising future for entrepreneurs in engineering but intends to get further engaged for them. Many schools now offer academic paths in entrepreneurship and starting and growing a business.
“Engineers are resourceful, but they tend not to seek out support. Plus, women and minorities are less represented. We have to keep providing support and pursuing our efforts.”