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Montreal is one of the world's top 20 startup cities

Montreal is one of the world's top 20 startup cities

Posted by PanamericanWorld on August 18, 2015

A 2015 ranking of the world’s leading startup cities puts Montreal at number 20 among urban centres that have the right financial, entrepreneurial and creative climate to support the development of exciting new companies.

"With its cultural diversity and high quality of life, Montreal has proven to be a fertile ground for entrepreneurs and innovative tech startups," states the Startup Genome Project, which suggests that the city is home to between 1,800 and 2,600 burgeoning new technology companies.

The 2015 Global Startup Ecosystem Report measures each city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem based on its startups’ market reach, ultimate performance and exit value. Also factored in are the quality of talent, availability of venture capital and the levels of experience and mentorship among startup founders.

A large part of Montreal's success in the startup rankings is attributed to its large pool of homegrown, skilled software engineers. The study ranked it 13th in talent, "thanks to the attractiveness of the city, combined with four well-known engineering schools that annually educate more than 5,000 computer science graduates."

Deborah Dysart-Gale is chair of the Centre for Engineering in Society and a founding member of District 3, Concordia’s own startup incubator. We asked her for her thoughts on Montreal's new position among the world's best startup cities.

What, in particular, makes Montreal a great startup city?

Deborah Dysart-Gale: Montreal certainly has a great buzz, with a lot of incubators and accelerators, as well as corporations that can help new startups.

District 3 takes a somewhat unique approach, with near-total focus on the entrepreneur and the team, rather than on the product. Individual participants are encouraged to look inside themselves, to realistically assess their skills and interests.

Before they think about the product they want to bring to market, they're encouraged to think first about what they want from the experience of pursuing their startup. They have to also know what their teammates want as well.

That way, even if the startup fails (and the odds are overwhelming that it will), they'll come away having reached some personal goals, and will be ready to perform better on the next startup, and the one after that, and the one after that.

What are the key ingredients to a successful startup ecosystem?

DD-G: The most important ingredient is the people, the entrepreneurs. We know that the vast majority of startups fail, so it's not really about developing businesses. But there are always people who are willing to learn from their failures and try again, changing ideas and changing tactics.

Who are these people, and how can we help them develop? A successful startup ecosystem is simply a place where people can be supported to learn to fail as quickly and usefully as possible.

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