Record investments of $ 210 million were made in 2017 in key companies in Sherbrooke, reveals the annual report of the organization unveiled Wednesday at City Hall.
In spite of the scarcity of manpower in almost all sectors of activity, an increase of 637 jobs was observed in all 653 key-sector enterprises to reach 18,803 jobs, a peak since the creation in 2009 of the paramunicipal organization dedicated to the economic development of the city.
“This is very good news. We are talking about a huge jump of 42 per cent compared to the $ 147 million invested in 2016. Much has been put in place in recent years to encourage these record investments such as Espace-Inc, Espace Labz, the Industrial Park region, “said Sherbrooke Innopole’s Executive Director, Josée Fortin.
The old record was $ 187 million in 2015, 13 percent less than the amount invested in 2017.
“Also, the scarcity of labor forces companies to use their imagination. More than 50 percent of the investments were made in machinery and equipment. Another 30 percent in innovation. Companies are automating themselves to be less dependent on the workforce, “says Fortin, adding that in 2017, more than 400 key-sector companies made investments, still a record.
In terms of jobs, key-sector firms performed better than Quebec overall, with growth of 3.5 per cent compared to 2.2 per cent. The key sector Manufacturing and advanced manufacturing (still the largest with 372 companies and 10,042 jobs) and the key sector Information technology (which represents 105 companies and 2,087 jobs) are the two that created the most jobs with 252 and 245 new jobs, respectively. “Proportionally, it is really the IT sector that has seen the biggest gain,” notes Ms. Fortin.
“In Life Sciences, 47 new jobs were created in 2017.”
– Pierre Tremblay
Indeed, the jump in jobs accounts for 13.3 percent in the IT sector and 2.6 percent for the manufacturing industry.
“Sherweb and CGI are the two employers who hired the most new employees,” said outgoing chair Pierre Tremblay, who ended his three-year term on Tuesday.
He will be replaced by former Vice President of the Board, Alexandre Nault, Director of Operations at The Color Group.
“In Life Sciences, which represents 51 companies and 2774 jobs, 47 new jobs were created in 2017. Soundbite has made the majority of hires with its 30 recruits,” said Tremblay, adding that in the key micro-nano technology sector, which represents eight companies and 903 jobs, Tekna is the company that has contributed the most to the increase of 78 jobs.
Sherbrooke Innopole presented its annual report according to the three components of its strategic plan: Facilitate, Accompany, Communicate.
In the Facilitate component, the organization’s professionals worked on 76 projects, 34 of which were finalized in 2017. Among these, we note the launch of the “Adopt the Estrie” project aimed at retaining international students. a collaboration with the Quebec Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion.
In the Accompanying component, the team made 503 interventions with Sherbrooke companies to help them with their start-up, implementation and growth projects. Of this number, 188 were completed in 2017, generating investments of more than $ 139 million and the creation or consolidation of 707 jobs.
In terms of financing, $ 2.2 million was invested in growth or innovation projects of 20 Sherbrooke companies through one of Sherbrooke Innopole’s six funds, for a total impact close to the $ 125.4 million. Each dollar invested generated $ 56.11 in local investment – a record level never seen before.