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April 12, 2018

French Entrepreneur Smitten by Québec’s Many Advantages

Competitive operating costs, a similar language and culture, innovative tax incentives and an exceptional quality of life are just some of Québec’s advantages winning over French entrepreneurs. Many are choosing Québec as a home base for tackling the North American market. Frédéric Picard, President of Picard Technologies, is one such entrepreneur.


Photo of various parts and seals


In 2016, after taking over the company founded by his parents, Picard created a subsidiary, Picard Technologies Canada. His next step was to leave France, moving with his family to Montréal’s South Shore, where he set up his business. “I chose Québec because of the French language, and Montréal in particular because it is in a fast-developing region,” he explains. The Québec subsidiary, which manufactures and sells the same parts and seals as its parent company, started production in January 2017. Today, it has six employees.


Laying the groundwork
The French entrepreneur started by taking two years to get ready for the move, which included confirming the project’s feasibility, refining his business plan and learning more about the formalities involved. Picard Technologies already had a few customers in Canada, which was an advantage for Picard. “I was already familiar with the country, because I was in charge of the Americas when I was doing business development in France,” he says. “I had already built a network there.” The business climate also proved to be easier than in his homeland. “In France, when you try to grow your customer base, companies’ doors are often closed to you. Here in Québec, customers are more open.”


Vital support
Picard would advise entrepreneurs thinking about setting up shop abroad to use the services of qualified professionals. “A lawyer will help you get your legal and tax files in order, and an accounting firm will help you secure funding.”


Even though he was already familiar with the Canadian market, Picard drew on the expertise of several organizations. “Investissement Québec, for example, guided me through the process and supplied useful contacts.”


Quality of life
Picard also had to convince his wife, who initially wasn’t very enthusiastic about the idea of starting again from scratch in Québec. Moving meant finding a place to live and a daycare or school for the children, for instance. “You have to find places at ‘livable’ distances and choose a spot that you really like,” he advises.


In the end, he opted for Mont-Saint-Hilaire, a town located some 30 kilometres from Montréal on the shores of the Richelieu River. “It’s wonderful! And we prefer the Québec climate to the climate in northern France,” he exclaims. Both he and his family are delighted with their new lives in Québec.


This profile was inspired by an article by Julie Le Bolzer, published in Open a new window on April 5, 2018.