The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

Mission in Lyon: a new internationalization strategy for SMEs in the LSHT industry

Every year, Entretiens Jacques Cartier plays host to approximately 20 conferences and events on the theme of interdisciplinarity (life sciences, digital and technology, finances, entrepreneurship…). It is one of the largest gatherings of French-speaking decision-makers, corporate executives, academics, and cultural influencers.

The Centre Jacques Cartier, which organizes the event, has become a symbol of cooperation between Canada and France.

In fact, on November 21 to 23, Acclr’s team of experts took part in a trade mission in Lyon. The three-day event ended with the signing of an agreement between Montreal and Lyon organizations. Its goal is to provide increased support to businesses in the life sciences and health technology sector in their internationalization strategy.

Frank Béraud, Chief Executive Officer of Montréal InVivo comments on this agreement.

Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal (CCMM) – Lyon is a major European hub when it comes to life sciences. How would you describe the relationship between our city’s life sciences sector and Lyon’s?

Frank Béraud (F.B.) – First, there is a lot of history between Montreal and Lyon. They have been sister cities since 1989 and are in fact quite similar. This is especially true in terms of the number of businesses and jobs in each ecosystem, for instance. Additionally, they both have large research centres on their territory. Lyon is known in France for its infectiology research whereas Montreal has become renowned in Quebec for its focus on neurosciences and cardiovascular research. We wanted to capitalize on this lovely synergy.

CCMM – What did you hope to accomplish in Lyon?

F.B. – Our goal was to renew our ties with the Lyonbiopôle [1] and the i-Care [2] cluster. It was the perfect opportunity to discuss the support we could give to our SMEs within the first phases of their internationalization strategy. In fact, we know that 94% of business are SMEs with fewer than 200 employees and some of them are looking to integrate into international markets to ensure their continued growth. We want to help them do so thanks to “soft-landing”, that is to say a secure environment with access to facilities, specialists, and personalized support.

I also want to highlight the excellent work that was done by Montréal International and the cité de la Biotech. They helped make the agreement a reality.

CCMM – When do you next meet your counterparts in Lyon?

F.B. – We are planning to send a Montreal delegation to the Biovision World Life Sciences Forum in Lyon in April 2017.

Finally, the next edition of the Entretiens Jacques Cartier will take place in 2017 and we hope Lyon businesses will take part.


[1] Lionbiopôle is a competitive hub whose mission is to support the emergence and development of technological innovation along with personalized medicine products and services that benefit patients.

[2] The i-Care Cluster is an initiative intended to bring together all the stakeholders in the value chain of health technologies in the Auvergne- Rhône-Alpes Region.

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