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Strategic Forum on the creative industries: 500 decision makers mobilize to promote and perpetuate the city’s creative talent

Montréal, December 6, 2013 – The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal held its first Strategic Forum on the creative industries today, with Jean-François Lisée, Minister responsible for the Montréal region, and Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montréal and President of the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal, in attendance. Over 500 decision makers gathered to discuss the city’s strengths, issues facing the sector’s entrepreneurs and the challenges we need to tackle to better take on international competition.

“What we learned from these discussions is that in the coming years we need to invest in research and development to ensure our creative industries remain competitive and to promote the fruits of our creativity on global markets,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.

“Montréal is clearly a world centre for creativity,” Mr. Leblanc said. “Now for the first time, we can back that claim with numbers: the sectors that make up the creative industries in Montréal have employment intensity that is above average among major North American cities. We owe this enviable position to our creators, who have made their mark internationally, while creating skilled jobs at home. We mustn’t forget that we have the strategic assets for ambassadors of talent and originality to emerge from Montréal. Today’s Strategic Forum gave us a chance to think about how to protect these assets while strengthening businesses in the creative industries.”

“We can be proud of our creators and the decisions that have helped form an ecosystem in Montréal that promotes the emergence and success of the creative industries,” Mr. Leblanc said. “For our creative talent to continue to express themselves and gain visibility at home and abroad, we need to promote the products of creation. This involves better marketing, greater collaboration between creators and entrepreneurs and increased promotion of our creativity.”

“One of the themes that kept coming up was attracting and retaining talent,” Mr. Leblanc said. “Montréal businesses have a pool of young talent trained locally in top programs. That said, growth in certain sectors and the advantage of having a rich diversity of talent encourages growing companies to look for human capital beyond our borders. Éric Fournier of Moment Factory pointed out that it is essential that we not deprive the creative industries of their raw material: creative talent. This particular challenge, along with shorter and shorter product life cycles and the transformation of distribution networks and platforms, requires adaptability and agility among public and private players.”

“Government tax incentives to creative businesses are also key,” Mr. Leblanc said. “As Jean-François Bouchard of Sid Lee pointed out, that company would not be the success it is today without these support measures. They give businesses the latitude to take risks, particularly seeking out prospects on foreign markets.”

“Many initiatives have been introduced to tackle the challenges of the creative industries in recent years,” Michel Leblanc said. “We can draw inspiration from models for incubators for digital creators, such as the SAT, major events that attract world creators, such as C2MTL, Mundial Montréal and the International Startup Festival, expertise in creativity, such as Mosaic HEC, agreements between industry clusters, such as those being developed by the Québec Film and Television Council internationally, and structuring urban development projects, such as the Quartier des spectacles and the Cité du multimédia. For instance, the fashion industry has innovated to better market products and collections through the Cabinet Éphémère, which many designers collaborate on to promote collections, and Fashion Movies, which demonstrate an adaptability to digital platforms and social networks. Arnaud Granata from Infopresse made the point quite effectively: our vision, courage and adaptability will help us develop tomorrow’s business models.”

“In the meantime, our most renowned creators continue to contribute to the city’s international visibility and attractiveness,” Mr. Leblanc said. “Cirque du Soleil and Cirque Éloize, Cavalia, Moment Factory, Sid Lee, Marie Saint Pierre, Arcade Fire and recently Ken Scott are perfect examples of this. Conquering international markets is indispensable for these ambassadors, because major clients for our creative industries are large corporations with decision-making centres for the most part located in other major cities in the United States, Europe and emerging countries.”

“This Strategic Forum and the study we released earlier this week are the first of many milestones in a new collective effort, which will ultimately better equip companies in the creative industries to tackles challenges against a backdrop of globalization, digitization and convergence,” Mr. Leblanc said. “Mr. Lisée and Mr. Coderre were very receptive to the messages from the key industry players today. They can count on the business community’s commitment and mobilization to support the city’s creative industries.”

For an overview of the Strategic Forum on the creative industries, click here and watch our video.
To consult our study on the creative industries, click here.

About the Strategic Forum on the creative industries
This Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal event was made possible thanks to the support of Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, in partnership with GOLD sponsors the Fonds de solidarité FTQ and the Government of Québec, specifically the Secrétariat à la région métropolitaine. It was also organized with SILVER partners Les Affaires, C2MTL Commerce + Créativité, The Gazette and Ubisoft Divertissements Inc.

About the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is made up of some 7,000 members. Its mission is to represent the interests of the business community of Greater Montréal and to provide individuals, merchants, and local businesses of all sizes with a variety of specialized services to help them achieve their full potential in terms of innovation, productivity, and competitiveness. The Board of Trade is Quebec's leading private economic development organization.


Michelle LLambias Meunier 
Advisor, Media Relations 
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal 
Tel.: 514 871-4000, ext. 4042

Twitter: @chambremontreal
Follow the discussion: #ccmmqcca

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