Launch of the Expansion Québec network

MONTREAL, Dec. 13, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - In the presence of Québec Premier Pauline Marois and Jean-François Lisée, Minister of International Relations, La Francophonie and External Trade and Minister responsible for the Montréal region, Expansion Québec officially opened its first place of business, in the heart of the Manhattan business district in New York City.

Expansion Québec, a Québec government initiative, is a non-profit organization whose mandate is to provide Québec exporters with specialized services that are complementary to those offered by the network of Québec offices abroad. Personalized sales assistance, a local business and mailing address and furnished work space rental are among the services offered by Expansion Québec that provide support to export companies when establishing themselves abroad, a step that is often critical to their growth.

"[translation] The launch of Expansion Québec is part of a Québec government effort to strengthen the permanent physical presence of Québec companies in foreign markets and thereby accelerate their growth. It is through initiatives such as these that Québec will ultimately be able to rely on first-rate export SMEs that will contribute to Québec's prosperity," explains Québec Premier Pauline Marois.

"[translation] Business managers seeking to penetrate or develop new markets will be able to benefit from the expertise and network of contacts of Expansion Québec offices throughout the world. Quick, versatile and effective set-up at a competitive rate is what Expansion Québec has to offer," states François Bouilhac, Chair of Expansion Québec's Board of Directors.

For Expansion Québec, it is not only the official opening of its first office, but also the official launch of its international activities in partnership with Entreprise Rhône-Alpes International (ERAI). For almost 20 years, ERAI has been providing companies from the Rhône-Alpes access to an international network of incubators specifically for businesses from that region of France.

The partnership between ERAI and Expansion Québec will provide Québec businesses with access to 27 ERAI offices throughout the world, while Expansion Québec plans to launch and manage 14 new foreign offices within the next five years. These offices will also be accessible to companies from the Rhône-Alpes and, on a broader scale, any francophone companies looking to benefit from this unique assistance tool for expansion in strategic markets.

"[translation] Our shared desire to assist Québec and Rhône-Alpes companies on an ongoing basis in international markets, basing ourselves on the business incubators developed by ERAI over almost 20 years, is taking shape today, and our teams in Québec, in the Rhône-Alpes and in countries where ERAI has a presence are focused on common goals and ambitions," states Laurent Van Soen, President of ERAI.

Once the launch of Expansion Québec is complete, the partnership with ERAI should provide Québec and Rhône-Alpes companies access to a combined Québec-Rhône-Alpes network in approximately 40 cities throughout the world. This combined network will become the largest francophone network of business centres in the world.

The first Expansion Québec office in New York is located on the 20th floor of the Chanin Building, in the heart of the Manhattan business district. The office includes 13 work spaces: 8 open-plan spaces, 4 closed offices and a meeting room. Two Québec businesses have already concluded an agreement and three others are currently putting the finishing touches on their partnership with Expansion Québec.

For Dominic Sévigny of Smart-Use, "[translation] Expansion Québec's support will enable Smart-Use to increase its visibility and strengthen its service offering in the U.S. market." Smart-Use, a company specialized in the development of touch-screen products for engineering, receives daily enquiries from the U.S.: setting up a permanent U.S. sales force is one of the company's top expansion priorities.

Apart from this first office in New York, Expansion Québec is currently in negotiations to open offices in São Paulo and California in 2013. It should also be noted that four Québec companies have already made the decision to set up operations in the ERAI incubator offices in Shanghai.

SOURCE: EXPANSION QUÉBEC

For further information:

Dominic Viénot
Expansion Québec
514-867-6726
vienot@expansionquebec.com
www.expansionquebec.com

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