What It’s Like to be an Entrepreneur in Quebec

For my first post on Techvibes, I’m mandated to explain what it’s like to be an entrepreneur in Quebec. For buds that don’t know me, I’m Gabriel Deschênes, CEO of the Montreal-based startup TagMyDoc, which I describe as “the easiest way to instantly access the latest version of any document.”

First of all, I’ll start by talking about running a tech business in Montreal, Quebec. I’ll be honest: I have to admit that the typical Quebecois is not an early adopter of any technology. This is unusual as we live in a “rich” country and we can individually afford the price of smartphones, tablets, laptops, PC, etc.

And, truth be told, we do buy these devices—but we don’t use them to their full potential to change our lives. We hate change. We hate to face the unknown.

As a tech guy with a creative mindset, I personally believe that when we talk about startups and entrepreneurship in general, we all think “innovation.” This is where the problem starts.

In Quebec, we’re not all that enthusiastic towards new things. We hate the fact that something has changed. We automatically associate this “change” to an unnecessary toy, insecure context, and discomfort. To be able to use a technology, you have to set your mind to learn something new and accept it. In other words, you have to discover new technologies to appreciate it.


A video explaining TagMyDoc.


The second part of the problem is money. We all know the scandal in the construction industry in Quebec. All these businesses that make money from stealing and robbing hundreds of millions of dollars in fake invoices and taxes increases our negative perspective of running a business. We automatically associate it to making money, a lot of money, but not always lawfully.

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We fear the money. We don’t like rich people. Making a good sum of money is not seen as a good thing in Quebec, even when the hard work is present.

At some point, making a lot of money proves that you are successful in a business way. Which brings me to ask: are we able to build great startups in Quebec? I personally think it’s possible, but we need to improve our perspective of technology and having success.

I will end by saying that I think I have the best job in the world, as everyone on this planet can be a client of my business. But as for me, Quebec is my land and should be able to compete with the rest of the world technologically and appreciate a good success story. C’est tout.