- Support and funding from all levels of government in Quebec and Canada are plentiful, allowing investors to leverage their investments for higher returns.
- Talent and key experts are attracted to come and work in Quebec City because of the quality of life offered by the city.
- Incubators, technology parks, and business development organizations are key parts of the Quebec City ecosystem helping the life sciences sectors to thrive.
With a high quality of life and solid infrastructure and supports available, Quebec City is poised to become a world leader in the bio and life sciences sector. By developing key technologies and innovations, Quebec City can develop a circular economy from which investors can gain significant returns.
What does BOSK Bioproducts do and how is it applying innovation in biosciences to reduce plastic waste?
At BOSK Bioproducts we develop, produce, and sell bio-based and compostable bioplastics. We offer these bioplastics under the trademark REGEN™ to manufacturers of any kind of finished product as an alternative to fossil-based plastics.
What makes us special at BOSK is that we have technology that allows us to produce polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) from untapped industrial carbon sources such as pulp and paper sludge. With the bio-fermentation process, we can transform pulp and paper sludge into a natural biopolymer that is similar to other natural materials such as wood, proteins, starch, and other cellulose-based materials. PHA can offer similar properties as conventional plastics but it is truly compostable.
“Our objective at BOSK is to make Quebec and Canada the first bioplastic producer in the world based on a circular economy.”
Our objective at BOSK is to make Quebec and Canada the first bioplastic producer in the world based on a circular economy. That is a big objective but that is what we dream about for our beautiful city and country.
What makes Canada an attractive destination for foreign direct investment in the bio and life sciences?
The ecosystem in Canada encourages innovation, research and development, and the introduction of products into the market. There are a lot of programs from the federal government that support the commercialization of innovations and leverage foreign investment to increase return on investment. These programs include Innovative Solutions Canada, which was launched more than one year ago. There is also a lot of programs specific to sectors such as the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program at Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). There are many programs at Economic Development Canada as well as financing from Business Development of Canada. On top of that, there are also many other programs from municipal and provincial governments. There is a lot of support and funding available to help leverage the investments that can be made in Canada.
What are Quebec City’s competitive advantages in the life sciences sector?
There is so much amazing innovation in Quebec, and it is because of the people. We have so much great expertise in Quebec City because the quality of life that Quebec City offers helps attract world-renowned experts. In the case of BOSK, the inventor of our technology is Professor Rajeshwar Dayal Tyagi, who is a renowned professor worldwide. He is from India and he chose Quebec City several years ago to settle down in because he fell in love with the city. That is why today, we can benefit from all the work that he has been doing in R&D.
There is a lot of investment to support R&D. In Quebec City, there is a very strong network to support the companies that conduct R&D and create new innovation. The Consortium de recherche et innovations en bioprocédés industriels au Québec (CRIBIQ) specializes in bio-based technology, products, and biotechnologies. There is also Québec International for business development. All these people are there to help entrepreneurs commercialize their products and find new partnerships and clients. There are also several incubators such as the Esplanade in Montréal as well as the newly created 2 Degrés in Québec City. We have so much help here with so many players. These kinds of supports help us find the right partners to develop our technology.
“People come to Quebec City for the quality of life and then innovate by working in our R&D centres.”
We have the Parc-Technologique in Québec City and we are working with the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) which is located in the Parc-Technologique. What they do to attract people to come and work there is to have a lot of stimulating projects and innovation but again, people choose Quebec City for its lifestyle. It is amazing that we have all this. We have the best of both worlds: access to a great career and a great quality of life with opportunities to a lot of activities, entertainment, and proximity to nature such as the St. Lawrence River. People come to Quebec City for the quality of life and then innovate by working in our R&D centres.
What is the availability of talent in Québec City and what is being done to grow the talent pool?
There is a lot of talent in Quebec City but there is a lot of talent around the world. A good strategy to recruit people is when they are studying. There are a lot of foreign students that come to Quebec and fall in love with the city but they need a job in order to stay here after graduating. There is a program with Mitacs that gradually integrates students into a company while they are still at university, and when they graduate, they can work with the company. These kinds of programs help to retain these people in Quebec City.
What are some programs and supports available in Quebec City for foreign investors?
The provincial government has a lot of programs. We have sector programs at the federal level, and the same exists at the provincial level. There is the Programme Innovation Bois that is provided by the Ministère des Forêts. It gives us great support in the development of our technology. There are also programs from the Ministère de l’Économie and Investissement Québec for all business stages, and recently, they just launched a new initiative that was very much needed in the market.
“A few years ago, there was a lack of funding for the pre-commercialization phase but now, many programs have been created to fill this gap.”
There is also Ecofuel, which provides funds for biotechnologies and green technologies. A few years ago, there was a lack of funding for the pre-commercialization phase but now, many programs have been created to fill this gap. These programs can help to leverage foreign investment and they were the last mile that was needed to help to maximize return on investments.