MONTRÉAL, March 20, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - Tourism, culture and entertainment start-ups have a powerful new ally: MT Lab, an incubator established by the Université de Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and its School of Management (ESG UQAM), Tourisme Montréal and the City of Montréal. A model of synergy between academic, entrepreneurial and municipal sectors, MT Lab has a mission to host fledgling entrepreneurs from Quebec, Canada and abroad in the tourism, transport, festivals, culture, hotel, restaurant and entertainment sectors.
The call for applications from young businesses is currently underway and will run until May 5. For a period of one year, starting in June 2017, MT Lab plans to host its first cohort of approximately 8 to 10 start-ups in various fields: technology, digital technology, artificial intelligence, fintech, virtual/augmented reality, new services, linked objects, usage innovation, collaborative and sustainable economy, etc.
MT Lab has been made possible in part by a financial contribution of $ 200,000 from the City of Montreal, originating from the Fonds de développement des territoires, a program of the Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l'Occupation du territoire. "Montréal is a catalyst for entrepreneurial strengths, and the start-up ecosystem makes a significant contribution to the city's economic activity. The MT Lab initiative participates in the sector's burgeoning activity, while reinforcing Montréal's draw by building on the innovative energy of young entrepreneurs. The incubator is part of our development strategy for an increasingly innovative and successful metropolis," noted Montréal Mayor Denis Coderre.
Tourism is a real economic engine in Montréal and Quebec, and MT Lab is helping to reinvent it, due in part to its partnership with Paris's tourism incubator, Welcome City Lab. "One sure way to increase the number of tourists in our city and the quality of their experience is to increase and diversify the tourism offer. MT Lab will undoubtedly contribute to the reinvention of our offer with a view to positioning Montréal at the top of the list of cities to visit," said Yves Lalumière, President and CEO of Tourisme Montréal.
MT Lab will be located at UQAM, in the heart of the entertainment district, in the Pierre-Dansereau Science Complex. The incubator will offer start-ups a set of services, including conference areas, an open space for coworking with open access and mentoring. "A fine example of a university contribution to the vitality of its community, MT Lab will make the advanced expertise of UQAM and its School of Management available to start-ups, to foster innovation in key sectors of the Montréal economy," said Robert Proulx, Rector of UQAM.
The start-ups supported by MT Lab will benefit from an environment dedicated to entrepreneurship as well as tourism and innovation observatories, in addition to privileged access to the business networks of several incubator partners, who will be announced shortly.
"ESG has placed entrepreneurship at the heart of its mission. This tourism enterprise incubator will play a role in the development of Québec's economy to which ESG is proud to contribute," said Stéphane Pallage, Dean of ESG UQAM.
A Board of Directors serving innovation
MT Lab is a private not-for-profit organization that can draw on a top-level Board of Directors to achieve its ambitious objectives. Pierre Bellerose, vice President, Public Relations, Research and Product Development of Tourisme Montréal, is Chair of the Board, and his experience will serve MT lab well.
He will be supported by several key players in innovation sectors: Sylvain Carle (CEO, FounderFuel), LP Maurice (President, BusBud) and Carl-Frédéric De Celles (President, iXmédia).
The other members of the Board are Paul Arseneault (holder of the Transat Chair in Tourism, ESG UQAM) who will act as VP innovation, Valérie Bourgeois (Director of Borealis), Stéphanie Normandin (Associate, Miller Thomson), Caroline Roger (Director, Partnerships and Innovation Support Service, UQAM), Guy-Joffroy Lord (Senior Manager, Business Intelligence, Tourisme Montréal), Isabelle Labarre (Director, Center for Development and External Relations, ESG UQAM) and Maude Lavoie, (CPA CA and Senior Manager at Richter). Géraldine Martin (Director of Entrepreneurship in the Economic Development Service, City of Montréal) is participating as an observer.
The director of the new organization is Martin Lessard, an UQAM graduate with a Master's in Communications, a technology columnist on the Radio-Canada program La Sphère, a digital and social media strategist, a teaching associate in Management at the Université de Sherbrooke, and a lecturer.
About MT Lab
The first incubator in North America dedicated to tourism, culture and entertainment, MT Lab was created by UQAM and its School of Management, Tourisme Montréal and the City of Montréal. Meeting place, start-up accelerator, and platform for exchange, MT Lab annually hosts a cohort of fledgling entrepreneurs with innovative solutions for major players in the industry. MT Lab was inspired by Welcome City Lab in Paris.
SOURCE Université du Québec à Montréal
For further information: Maude N. Béland, Press Relations Officer, Press Relations and Special Events Division, UQAM Communications Service, Phone: 514 987-3000, ext. 1707, [email protected], twitter.com/MaudeNBeland; Andrée-Anne Pelletier, Manager - Corporate Public Relations Tourisme Montréal, 514 844-3344, 514 248-7844, [email protected]; Dorothée Philippon, Chargée de communication, City of Montreal, Tél. : 514 872-9702, Cell : 514-451-4867, [email protected]