Canada Economic Development

Canada Economic Development

March 30, 2005 10:35 ET

Government of Canada Invests $3,271,270 in 16 Centre-du-Quebec SMEs committed to Improving their Productivity



MARCH 30, 2005 - 10:35 ET

Government of Canada Invests $3,271,270 in 16
Centre-du-Quebec SMEs committed to Improving their

DRUMMONDVILLE, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - March 30, 2005) -

Canada Economic Development presents a progress report on its efforts to
help improve the competitiveness of enterprises

While visiting the Centre-du-Quebec region today, the Honourable Jacques
Saada, Minister of Canada Economic Development and Minister responsible
for the Francophonie, announced that the Government of Canada has
invested a total of $3,271,270 in 16 small and medium-sized business in
the region since January 2003 as part of its efforts to help improve the
competitiveness of the region's enterprises.

The 16 projects funded by Canada Economic Development are expected to
generate considerable spinoffs for the Centre-du-Quebec region,
translating into $10,257,820 in total investments, the consolidation of
1,067 jobs and the creation of 20 new jobs.

"By encouraging SMEs to improve their productivity and adopt innovative
practices, we are helping to build a stronger regional economy overall.
In the Centre-du-Quebec region, as elsewhere in Canada, enterprises that
increase their productivity have a leg up on developing their markets,
expanding their sector of activity and, in short, generating wealth,"
stated the Minister.

Among the enterprises awarded funding under the IDEA-SME program,
Sechoirs de l'Est of Victoriaville received a repayable contribution of
$300,000 to implement an action plan stemming from a diagnostic of the
enterprise's operations conducted by an outside firm specialized in
productivity enhancement. The project involves, among other things,
acquiring state-of-the-art strategic equipment and introducing new
electronic business practices, thereby consolidating 28 jobs.

Natart Juvenile, for its part, has undertaken a project to improve the
efficiency of its operations and reduce delivery time in an effort to
achieve a level of cost-effectiveness comparable to the industry
standard. Three new jobs will thus be created and 33 existing positions
consolidated as a result of a $100,000 repayable contribution from
Canada Economic Development.

Major support for tourism development

Minister Saada also took the opportunity during his visit to announce
the awarding of a non-repayable contribution of $450,000 to Tourisme
Centre-du-Quebec for the development of an international marketing
strategy of the "Route du Sud", a tourism circuit centred on homegrown
products, regional flavours and heritage.

The Central Quebec, Eastern Townships and Chaudiere-Appalaches regional
tourism associations have combined their efforts to promote this
interregional tourism route that aims to attract foreign tourists
travelling between Quebec City and Montreal.

"Our assistance is intended to encourage such interregional joint
efforts, which hold tremendous promise for the future. This will enable
stakeholders in these three participating regions to develop the Route
du Sud into a major tourist draw. At a time when competition is fierce,
the idea of an interregional circuit brings considerable added value to
the tourism offering. Many Quebec regions could draw from this example
and thereby increase the contribution tourism makes to their economies,"
concluded Minister Saada.

Canada Economic Development's mandate is to promote the economic
development of the regions of Quebec. Primarily through financial
assistance programs, the Agency elicits and supports the implementation
of economic development projects. The two priorities the Agency has set
itself are to foster innovation and the knowledge economy in each region
of Quebec, and to help communities that are having difficulty adjusting
to the new economy. In this way, the Agency contributes to the
attainment of the Government of Canada's objective of building the 21st
Century economy.

Funding for this initiative was provided for in the March 2004 federal

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Contact Information

    Canada Economic Development
    Lyne Montpellier
    800 567-8637
    Canada Economic Development
    Office of the Honourable Jacques Saada
    Daniel Dezainde, Press Secretary
    (514) 496-1282