Quebec home to a B2B first

The National Bank of Canada says it is creating the only one-stop-shopping online outlet for the province of Quebec.

Along with ClicCommerce, a Quebec B2B company 90 per cent owned by the bank, National announced the launch of ClicInc, the first B2B electronic marketplace of its kind in Canada, according to the companies.

Tony Meti, National Bank’s senior vice-president of commercial banking for North America, said ClicInc is part of the bank’s plan to evolve faster than its clients are.

“The e-procurement portal will now allow our clients to save substantial dollars in terms of their purchases and efficiency,” he said. “Every company has to buy stationery, for example. Studies indicate that companies can save 80 per cent buying it over the Internet and this can help save money.”

Meti said the National Bank has a 65 per cent penetration rate and about 150,000 clients, up to 30,000 of whom he expects will be actively using the B2B marketplace by the end of next year.

“Then we will grow it exponentially,” he said. “This is also a major attraction for the public sector. Take hospitals, school boards – the public sector is probably the most important target for this service.”

It is a Canadian first in that it offers both a private marketplace, which enables buyers and suppliers access to the platform, and to a public marketplace, which is open to everyone free of charge.

Tosia Manka, analyst with Kanata, Ont.-based Yankee Group Canada, said National Bank’s venture is positive, both for suppliers and businesses in Quebec and other provinces.

“Being the first Canadian Web site of this sort could have nothing but good consequences,” she said. “It is good to finally see something that is Canadian and it will be good

for all the companies that might be tired of working in U.S. dollars.”