Building an inclusive and resilient climate economy in Quebec

At the Future Economy Lab (FEL) we are bringing together a select group of organizations to pioneer a new way of nurturing entrepreneurial ecosystems that create inclusive and resilient economies. The first iteration of FEL launched in partnership between Maison d’innovation sociale, McConnell Family Foundation, SecondMuse Capital, and Real Ventures focused on the climate economy in Québec. Tailoring the complex landscape of climate finance to Québec’s entrepreneurs and investors requires a strong understanding of the province’s resources, entrepreneurial activity, investor culture, and political priorities. Researching this has been a central part of the first iteration of the Future Economy Lab Montréal.

Our approach to research was multidisciplinary: video or telephone interviews with over 20 stakeholders, database analysis, report reviews, stakeholder mapping, and virtual workshops with 30+ participants. This research has been the guide for designing a new financing and ecosystem development structure to serve the Québec climate economy. Research has found that in Québec, there is strong public consensus in favour of taking action against climate change. The province has long been a leader in sustainable development and has set ambitious goals for climate change; most notably, a 37.5% reduction of GHG emissions by 2030 (vs. 1990 levels).

Grey cover with blue font that reads Future Economy Lab Montreal Report

Given the criticism of traditional financial mechanisms, ranging from a lack of diversity to only supporting the growth of unicorns, we have started to see more nontraditional mechanisms – instruments and models – created to address some of these pitfalls or gain popularity (in the case of those that have been implemented for decades in the social economy). Our experience and research has found that ecosystem development – i.e the knowledge, resources and relationships surrounding and supporting entrepreneurs and innovators – is at the core of building new economies. As such, we are proposing the design of a fund paired with an ecosystem development program .

The uniqueness of this proposed model is that it aligns the interests of the ecosystem development efforts with a fund from the very beginning, helping to complement, strengthen, and de-risk one another. We believe that by supporting the healthy development of a climate focused ecosystem, this may help de-risk the fund’s investments as it would support the development of a healthy pipeline of investments and help ensure the success of the businesses and projects that the fund invests in.

They would be managed separately but would have one board of advisors for both which would be able to provide a holistic perspective and guidance. While the activity of the ecosystem development program focuses on creating a more enabling environment for climate-focused innovations to thrive, the fund exists to fill the capital gap of scalable businesses and to attract and catalyze additional capital and financing mechanisms in the climate sector.

Although there is an active network working in Québec’s climate economy, it is still nascent. We have the right building blocks to catalyze the next generation of the climate movement which will be more inclusive, more diverse, globally connected, and data driven.