New govt partnership boosts SMEs in Quebec

In Montreal last week, Economic Development of Canada (EDC)announced a $3.3 million contribution to the InternationalInstitute of Telecommunication research and development centre(IIT) to expand existing infrastructure.

It was all part of an ongoing working relationship IIT hasenjoyed with the government for many years and consolidates theInstitute’s role in the telco industry, according to Louis Brunel,president and CEO of Montreal-based IIT.

“The greatest demand we’re seeing right now with respect totelecommunications, is for research that is innovative and leads tofaster technological solutions,” said Brunel.

One of the objectives of the IIT is to increase collaborationwith partners within the teleco sector and to help strengthen andbuild it as a strong Canadian industry, he said.

“(Last year) was a great year of positioning, development andconcrete achievements,” Brunel said. “In 2006 we will be able tofully assume our role on the national and internationalscenes.”

Jacques Langelier, regional director for Montreal with EDC, saidthey’re very pleased with the partnership so far.

“(The EDC) entered into a partnership with the IIT because theyhave the ability to help SMEs in Quebec develop and test newapplications, and to help commercialize them,” said Langelier.

He noted that Industry Canada is also playing a significant rolein the partnership.

“In this particular case, there are people at Industry Canadawho have the knowledge of the industry, and they are helping usfollow the progression of the research and development theInstitute is doing,” said Langelier. “We’re not here asspecialists, we are more generalists and when we need expertise indifferent fields, we ask (Industry Canada) to help us.”

He added the IT sector in Montreal is a very important onerepresenting more than 100,000 jobs.

“That’s one of the reasons why we have invested in the researchprogram at the Institute, but what we mainly do is a variety ofpartnerships in different fields with different partners, so thisis not a ‘one-of-a-kind’ deal,” Langelier said.

The mission of the EDC in this particular case, is to ensurethat SMEs in Quebec in telecommunications, and in other fields, candevelop new products and go forward, according to Langelier.

“It’s important to us that they can be innovative and can testtheir product and sell it,” he said

IIT is the sole operator of both 2G and 3G real-time wire-basedand wireless networks, which gives companies and innovators theability to test pre-competitive services and demonstrate them onexisting networks, according to Brunel.

“We don’t have a say in what type of research is done, what’simportant for us is that the Institute is able to fulfill needsthat are brought forward by SMEs,” Langeleir said.