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FCCQ and Réseau des SADC et CAE help 1,040 small tourism businesses seize the opportunities offered by the recovery


FCCQ and Réseau des SADC et CAE help 1,040 small tourism businesses seize the opportunities offered by the recovery
 La The Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec (FCCQ) and the Réseau des SADC et CAE in the presence of the Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for CED, accompanied by Rachel Bendayan, Member of Parliament for Outremont and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, took part in announcements related to the Tourism Relief Fund (TRF), including the results of the Tourism Small Business Assistance Project supported by CED under the TRF.
Help that travels!
A total of 1,040 rural and urban tourism businesses in all regions of Quebec benefited from non-repayable contributions to improve their facilities and adapt or develop their products and services to meet customer needs. Support for small businesses was provided in cooperation and synergy with partners in the field. Of the 1,040 businesses assisted under the Project, 279 were small tourism businesses owned or managed by women, and 44 were small tourism businesses owned or managed by First Nations people.
Ready for the touristic season!
All regions and all sectors of the tourism industry received a helping hand to carry out one or more projects before the tourist season: restaurant, accommodation, arts and leisure, tourist transport and other sectors all benefited from a contribution. The projects supported include, for example, installing bike racks in a café along a tourist bike path, increasing seating capacity at a sugar shack, adding identification panels at a brewery farm, improving a religious heritage trail along the river, and more than a thousand other projects that give tourism entrepreneurs even more tools to attract visitors to their region!
Fast, efficient delivery
The assistance project was delivered throughout Quebec thanks to the combined forces of the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec (FCCQ) and the Réseau des SADC et CAE. This was the second major collaboration for the two networks, which have already worked together on the Canadian Digital Adoption Program.
“Our government continues to be there for businesses and organizations in the tourism sector to ensure their recovery. Thanks to CED’s support, a total of $36.5 million has been invested in small businesses across Quebec in the form of non-repayable contributions. The investments were made in a short period of time, during the first quarter of the year, so that entrepreneurs could take full advantage of the upcoming tourism season. Every dollar invested will more than double the benefits,” explains the Honourable Pascale St-Onge.
“Thanks to their agility and in-depth knowledge of the field, SADCs and CAEs, in collaboration with local tourism key players, have been able to quickly identify various types of businesses in the regions of Quebec. The diversity of the 665 tourism businesses assisted by our network reflects the regional tourism ecosystem. We are proud to have played a part in revitalizing this sector, whose vitality is key to the economic development of our regions,” adds Pascal Harvey, General Manager of the Réseau des SADC et CAE.
“The administration of this type of project is fully in line with the economic development mission of the FCCQ and its affiliated chambers of commerce. In addition to the direct and indirect spin-offs that will benefit all regions, several thousand jobs will be preserved, and the projects supported will create several hundred more, ensuring the vitality of the sector for seasons to come. The Chambers have done an extraordinary amount of canvassing to raise awareness of the Project in urban areas and support entrepreneurs. We are honoured to have been able to participate, with CED and the SADC-CAE network, in the delivery of such a promising project,” explains Charles Milliard, President and CEO of the FCCQ.

About the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec

Thanks to its vast network of nearly 123 chambers of commerce and 1,100 corporate members, the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec (FCCQ) represents more than 45,000 businesses operating in all sectors of the economy throughout Quebec. The FCCQ is the largest network of businesspeople and companies in Quebec and is both a federation of chambers of commerce and a provincial chamber of commerce. Its members, whether they are chambers or businesses, all pursue the same goal: to foster an innovative and competitive business environment.

About the SADC and CAE Network 
SADCs and CAEs are non-profit organizations that have been working for more than 40 years on the economic development of Quebec’s regions. The Network includes 57 SADC (Sociétés d’aide au développement des collectivités) and 10 CAE (Centres d’aide aux entreprises). They have over 400 professionals and 600 volunteers who support innovative projects and businesses for prosperous communities. Each year, they help and finance more than 10,000 businesses and over 1,500 local projects.


Media Contacts:  

Vicki Ng-Wan
Vice-president, Communication,
Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec 
Bureau : 514 844-9571, poste 3335

Christine Pilote 
Director of communications,
Réseau des SADC et CAE 
581 999-6363


The Réseau des SADC et CAE unveils its results

The Réseau des SADC et CAE has released its annual report for April 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022, which is testament to the major impact that Sociétés d’aide au développement des collectivités (SADC) and Centres d’aide aux entreprises (CAE) have had on the economic development of Quebec’s regions. 

In addition to investing over $100 million to support more than 13,000 businesses and 1,773 joint projects, SADCs and CAEs reached new heights by delivering the Technical Assistance Component of the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) to help entrepreneurs adapt their business models and seize opportunities in the recovery period. The year was also marked by the addition of the Virage vert program in March to expand the range of services offered by SADCs and CAEs to assist businesses and communities with sustainable development. 


“Thanks to our deep roots in our communities and our quick and effective action, we have been able to meet the needs of entrepreneurs in Quebec’s regions during the pandemic and the recovery period,”   said Vallier Daigle, President of the Réseau.

“This achievement is dedicated to our hard-working professionals and local leaders who sit on SADC and CAE boards of directors. I would like to thank the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec (CED) and Minister Pascale St-Onge for being such great partners in working with us to offer important programs like the new Virage vert program.” 

“From the start of my term, it was easy for me to see what a key role the SADCs and CAEs play for Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions in supporting businesses and rural communities in Quebec as they recover from the pandemic,” said the Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions. “The over 1,000 passionate, dedicated volunteers and professionals who work with you help keep the economy moving in the province’s regions and create and maintain good jobs in our communities.” 

Read our annual report 


Technical assistance for entrepreneurs

In September 2021, SADCs and CAEs wrapped up the RRRF, a program launched by Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions in June 2020 to assist businesses affected by COVID-19. Over the course of the program, $123.5 million was invested to provide loans and technical assistance to businesses and to support joint projects.  

This year, SADCs and CAEs focused on the Technical Assistance Component (TAC) of the RRRF, investing nearly $9 million in over 500 businesses to provide specialist support to overhaul or strengthen aspects such as operations, management, human resources and technology integration.


New Virage vert program

In March 2022, Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions launched the Virage vert program to help SADCs and CAEs accelerate the roll-out of sustainable development in Quebec’s regions. Delivered by SADCs and CAEs, the program will run until March 2024 and provide $9.5 million to enable more businesses and communities to improve their environmental and economic performance. SADCs and CAEs will be able to provide funding for businesses to access the expertise they need to get there. 

Economic development projects for Quebec’s regions

It is easier to create jobs in communities that are socially and culturally prosperous. SADCs and CAEs leverage the strengths of the community to take on economic challenges and invest time and money in community-led initiatives and strategies. This year, over $25.5 million was invested to carry out 1,773 promising joint projects. These included feasibility studies, events and symposiums with a focus on socioeconomic mobilization, cohorts for exchanging the expertise and training needed to help businesses tackle current economic issues, initiatives to encourage consumers to buy local and efforts to tackle the labour shortage.

Les Crevettes de Sept-Îles: A company weathers the storm and goes green thanks to the SADC      

Les Crevettes de Sept-Îles is a company led by four entrepreneurs who own a seasonal restaurant named Les terrasses du Capitaine, a fish market called Poissonnerie Soucy and a seafood processing plant. In the summer of 2020, the mandatory closure of the restaurant forced them to pivot their focus to the fish market and processing plant. Faced with declining sales, the owners shifted gears and overhauled their production process to develop new markets in Quebec and abroad. With technical assistance from the SADC Côte-Nord, they were able to automate a number of production phases. 

The young entrepreneurs’ interest in sustainable development led them to take part in Synergie 138, a circular economy project established by the regional SADCs to make one person’s trash another person’s treasure. In addition to boosting productivity and reducing waste, they hope to develop a computer system to track merchandise, losses and transactions to be integrated into their current systems. This major technological shift should help keep their business afloat for years to come.

Le Réseau des SADC et CAE dévoile ses résultats

Bottom caption: Entrepreneurs: Jean-François Fournier, Gabrielle Néron, Frédérique Néron and Michel Bourque (not pictured) 



Our network of 57 SADCs (Sociétés d’aide au développement des collectivités) and 10 CAEs (Centres d’aide aux entreprises) has been working in community economic development for more than 40 years. The Réseau des SADC et CAE is made up of over 1,000 professionals and volunteers who support and provide funding to more than 10,000 entrepreneurs and 2,000 local economic development projects every year. SADCs and CAEs offer entrepreneurs personalized, sustained support and flexible financing products that are tailored to their needs. SADCs and CAEs receive financial support from Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions.


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Christine PiloteDirector, Communications | Phone: 581-999-6363  cpilote@sadc-cae.ca 


Pascale St-Onge, the Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec (CED), announced today a non-repayable contribution of $9.5M to the Réseau des SADC et CAE to help SMEs go green and support sustainable development in Quebec regions.

This financial assistance comes at the perfect time for Sociétés d’aide au développement des collectivités (SADCs) and Centres d’aides aux entreprises (CAEs), which for 15 years have been integrating sustainable development principles into their local economic development projects and business advisory services. This support from Canada Economic Development will allow them to continue helping businesses improve their environmental and economic performance and assisting communities with local economic development projects that promote sustainable development.

Vallier Daigle, president of the Réseau des SADC et CAE, is understandably very pleased with today’s announcement.  “This is excellent news because, in addition to recognizing our members’ expertise helping
small businesses with sustainable development projects, the Government of Canada is taking a concrete step that will ultimately have a positive impact on the environmental and economic performance of our SMEs. The SADCs and CAEs of Quebec are ready to take up the challenge and give businesses the support they need to build a greener future in Quebec regions.”

SADCs and CAEs have completed many sustainable development projects over the past few years in areas ranging from circular economy to carbon credits to renewable energy recovery.

These projects have been carried out across the province and benefit both SMEs and their communities. It’s only natural for the Government of Canada to collaborate with key economic stakeholders, such as SADCs and CAEs, to deliver this program, which is bringing us all one step closer to a greener, more
sustainable economy.



Québec City, February 3, 2022 – Today, the Réseau des SADC (Sociétés d’aide au développement des collectivités) et CAE (Centres d’aide aux entreprises) du Québec is launching The Road to Entrepreneurship (La route de l’entrepreneur), a website designed to guide entrepreneurs through every step of starting and running a business. It will also make it easy for entrepreneurs to reach out to their SADC or CAE’s business advisors, who understand their region’s particular issues and challenges. 

“Entrepreneurs often get lost in the maze of consulting services available online,” explains Vallier Daigle, President of the Réseau des SADC et CAE. “With The Road to Entrepreneurship, they will finally have access to dependable, unbiased and, above all, local expertise. This new site will refer entrepreneurs to the directory of SADCs and CAEs and to business advisors in their area. These advisors are professionals who live and work in the communities they serve and can also tap into a vast national network of expertise—that has been growing for 40 years and counting—to connect entrepreneurs with the resources they need.” 


The Road to Entrepreneurship will offer entrepreneurs practical advice and tools at every step of their business endeavour, whether that’s buying an existing SME, taking over the family business, or growing, financing or selling their business. The new website is chockfull of unrivalled content inspired by a 360degree approach to entrepreneurship. More advice from other entrepreneurs will begin to be added soon. 



A one-stop shop for the entrepreneurial know-how of Quebec’s SADCs and CAEs  


The Road to Entrepreneurship is also a forum where our network of over 1,000 professionals and volunteers from across the province can share tips and expertise and easily export best practices from one region to another. In this same spirit, the platform makes various userfriendly tools available for entrepreneurs to download, including a business plan template, a selfassessment grid for sustainable development practices, and a grid to calculate working capital that was developed by our members specifically for small businesses. In addition, the website has a blog with posts on a range of topics related to entrepreneurship, based directly on the reallife experience of our professionals. 


SADC de Papineau executive director Mélissa Bergeron encourages all local entrepreneurs to visit The Road to Entrepreneurship. “This site is for you, and it really dovetails with our simple and effective approach with our clients, who do not always have the time to search around for the best solutions for their projects. We truly want you to succeed, and we’re here to guide you along the way.” 


Visit The Road to Entrepreneurship 


Québec City, December 16, 2021 – A study on the performance of the Community Futures Program (CFP), which is delivered in Quebec by Sociétés d’aide au développement des collectivités (SADCs) and Centres d’aide aux entreprises (CAEs), confirms that Quebec businesses that work with the Réseau perform better.

The results of the Community Futures Program (CFP) performance study, conducted by Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions in collaboration with Statistics Canada, were published in November. The study compares the performance of businesses with up to 100 employees that received assistance through the CFP with other businesses with similar profiles that did not receive services from SADCs or CAEs over a five-year period.

Vallier Daigle, President of the Réseau des SADC et CAE, says he is very proud of these results: “We have been supporting the success of entrepreneurs and the economic vitality of our regions for 40 years. With the financial contribution of Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions, our professionals deliver our three complementary business lines: local economic development, technical assistance and business financing. How do we do it? With a strong, agile and effective provincial network of expertise that is firmly rooted in our communities and attentive to the needs of entrepreneurs.”


The study looked at 4,451 CFP files. Between 2013 and 2018, our network has made a difference for businesses by contributing to the following: 

Improved business survival rate: 77% after five years of existence, compared to 53% for those in the control group


Creation of over 10 times as many jobs: an average increase of 3.2% per year, compared to 0.3% in the control group


Creation of nearly 5 times as many jobs for women-owned businesses:

an average increase of 5.0% per year, compared to 1.3% in the control group


Stronger increase in sales: 5.2% average annual sales increase, compared to 3.14% for the control group


Faster payroll growth: 7.2% per year on average, compared to 2.9% for businesses in the control group


About the Community Futures Program (CFP)


The CFP is a federal government program that ensures financing for the operations of the 269 CFDCs, SADCs, CBDCs and CAEs in Canada, including 67 in Quebec. The CFP recognizes the expertise of local decision makers and decision-making autonomy, in order to encourage communities to take charge of their futures.






On July 6, 2013, an unprecedented train wreck rocked the town of Lac-Mégantic. A massive explosion and fire destroyed the downtown, killing 47 people, more than half of them under the age of 40. The Lac-Mégantic region was a model for the coordination of economic development stakeholders, with one of the most beautiful and vibrant downtowns in Quebec.


Réseau –  Ginette, the SADC played a major role in the aftermath of the disaster. Looking back, what were the most difficult moments?

G.I. –  After making sure that my family, board members and team members were all still alive, the most difficult thing was how totally disorganized everything was. The SADC had lost everything and didn’t have the tools to help people. The feeling of powerlessness was overwhelming, and we at the SADC quickly got to work in order to reassure those most affected by showing them a semblance of normalcy.

Réseau – Your region was famous for how well-coordinated stakeholders were. How is it now?

G.I. – In the first few months, all the organizations instinctively formed a united front. We got together every morning to coordinate our actions and share tasks. This is what helped us get through it all. After Mayor Laroche left, the municipal council changed. There wasn’t enough time to consult the organizations, and they made some controversial decisions. During this time, the organizations felt the need to stand out again and act more individually. This was a difficult time. It became clear that collaboration had broken down. There’s more of it now, however. People want to feel that unity again.

Réseau – After five years, what are the most significant consequences?

G.I. – How people are still feeling vulnerable, which makes them insecure and afraid of investing and getting involved. Then there’s the loss of our downtown, which we prided ourselves on. Two weeks before the tragedy, I had reviewed our facade renovation program and was happy to say that there were only three buildings left to redo… None of the downtown buildings withstood it. Both residents and tourists say that we have lost our soul. They are disappointed that the new buildings don’t have the same charm. I wouldn’t have believed it could affect us so much.

Réseau – Were there any positives in all these events?

G.I. – Of course! Definitely the most significant is how many of Lac-Mégantic’s young people have returned. They felt the sense of urgency and wanted to help. As well, the media coverage in the first few months helped us raise several million dollars to aid the victims. And I want to acknowledge Canada Economic Development (CED), which has provided exceptional financial assistance and technical support. The $5 million in recovery funds for Lac-Mégantic enabled us to help businesses relocate, and there will soon be new buildings on Frontenac Street thanks to this funding.

Réseau – How is the region’s economy doing these days ?

G.I. –The commercial sector is still struggling, as it was the most affected, but the industrial sector is doing well. CED also supported them. Although it was previously thought that everything would be done in three years, it will take at least ten years to rebuild Lac-Mégantic.

Réseau – Ginette, you are going to be leaving the SADC in a few months. What gives you hope and pride with regard to these events?

G.I. –The removal of the railway will be a fantastic opportunity to redevelop the town centre so that it regains some of its charm. My greatest sources of pride are having really made a difference for the victims and a sense of accomplishment.


Papineau Street, Photo credit: Claude Grenier

A new initiative to help businesses face economic challenges

BATISCAN, Mauricie, October 11, 2016 – The Réseau des SADC et CAE is proud of the announcement made today by François-Philippe Champagne, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance and Member of Parliament for Saint-Maurice–Champlain, on behalf of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, who is also the Minister responsible for Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED), of the implementation of the new Small Business Support initiative.

Continue reading “A new initiative to help businesses face economic challenges”

A fifth study from Statistics Canada reaffirms that SADCs and CAEs propel businesses

Québec, February 4, 2016 Businesses that work with SADCs or CAEs in Quebec have better survival rates, create many more jobs, and more rapidly increase their payroll and sales, even during periods of economic crisis. This is confirmed by the fifth study from Statistics Canada on the performance of the Community Futures Program (CFP), delivered by SADCs and CAEs in Quebec.


Every year, since 2011, at the request of Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions, Statistics Canada compares various indicators of a group of SADC and CAE business clients with a control group of similar businesses that have not used their services. Each year, approximately 4,000 cases of businesses with fewer than 100 employees are handled. These businesses hail from several industries, primarily manufacturing, construction, retail (services) and wholesale trade.

Note that the positive effect of SADCs and CAEs is even greater in businesses with fewer than 20 employees.

Here are the main results:

  • Improved business survival rate: 76% after five years of existence, compared to 50% for those in the control group.
  • Increased job creation: average increase of 2.6% per year compared to 0.2% in the control group. In businesses with fewer than 20 employees, the average increase is 5.8% compared to 0.5%.
  • More rapid increase in sales: 5.9% annual sales increase compared to 3.7% for the control group.
  • More rapid progression of businesses’ payroll: 6.3% per year on average compared to 3.7% for businesses in the control group. In businesses with fewer than 20 employees, the rate is 9.7% compared to 4% for businesses in the control group.

Daniel Dumas, President of the Réseau des SADC et CAE, is proud of the consistency of the results: “The data shows that our organizations improve business performance. Personalized and professional support from SADC and CAE professionals, combined with financing, encourages the development of strong and sustainable businesses in Quebec’s regions and, as a result, creates jobs.”

Several entrepreneurs testify to the importance of SADCs or CAEs in the success of their projects. One of them is Matthieu Girard, owner of the computer service business MJS Inc., from Saint-Hilarion: “The SADC Charlevoix, Côte-de-Beaupré, Île-d’Orléans enabled us to double our sales. SADCs are the best help for businesses. They help entrepreneurs set their ideas in motion, create high-quality jobs and be much more competitive.”