Over the last 50 years, our Beauce partners and employees have witnessed the success and growth of many businesses in the region. It goes without saying that business associations have played, and continue to play, a central role in carrying out development projects to benefit the Beauce community. At Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, we maintain lasting relationships with these important organizations because we are driven by the same values of business growth, innovation and success. As part of our series of articles on the 50th anniversary of our history in Beauce, we wish to highlight the key contribution of these associations.
Discussion with Partners in the Growth of Beauce Businesses
Nancy Labbé, Chambre de commerce et d’industrie de la Nouvelle‑Beauce; Nathalie Roy, Chambre de commerce de Saint-Georges; Claude Morin, Conseil économique de Beauce; Marlène Bisson, Développement économique Nouvelle‑Beauce; Daniel Chaîné, Centre local de développement Robert-Cliche
It’s a known fact: Beauce is a hotbed of entrepreneurs. With its dynamic economy and plethora of businesses, an entrepreneurial spirit seems to be part of its very DNA. After all, this is where the École d’Entrepreneurship de Beauce was born. “This is who we are,” explains Nancy Labbé, General Director of the Chambre de commerce et d’industrie de la Nouvelle‑Beauce, whose mission is to promote the development of the business community through networking and relationship building. She continues, “If you look at the Dutil, Vachon and Dulac families, you see business people who had vision, self-confidence and were able to make a place for themselves. The people of Beauce relish rolling up their sleeves and overcoming challenges.” Nathalie Roy, head of the Chambre de commerce de Saint-Georges, a business network whose goal is to promote the economic development of Beauce and the interest of its 400 members, agrees. She believes that the character of its citizens has served as the basis for the region’s business vitality, “The people of Beauce have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and been very resourceful. They are dynamic, independent, creative and are able to overcome obstacles.” For Claude Morin, General Director of the Conseil économique de Beauce, an industrial commissioner with close ties to manufacturing companies whose mission is to search for financing and foster business meetings, Beauce business owners don’t wait for others to launch a project. “They tend to be free-spirited,” he says, “they’re entrepreneurial and independent. They have an idea and go for it.”
The Strength of the Beauce Economy
On the basis of these entrepreneurial values, the people of Beauce have built a diversified economy. Marlène Bisson is an industrial commissioner and Chief of Operations at Développement économique Nouvelle‑Beauce. This organization’s mandate is to offer various services to Beauce businesses, including coaching, help searching for financing and training, to promote Nouvelle‑Beauce’s economic development. For her, the region’s vitality is due in large part to the manufacturing sector’s major presence but also to the diversity of its businesses, both in size (small to big) and range of industries. “The Beauce economy is highly diversified; it’s not dependent on any one industry. Several industries perform well and this helps us positively weather economic cycles,” states Daniel Chaîné, industrial commissioner and General Director of the Centre local de développement Robert-Cliche, whose mission is to drive the RCM’s economic growth by fostering entrepreneurship and local development.
Some of the stars of the Quebec economy had their start here, in the heart of the Chaudière River valley; organizations such as the Canam Group, MAAX or Vachon, with their famous pastries. The key to success of these businesses relies on several factors. According to Nancy Labbé, “Business that succeed are those that can adapt to change, think of new ways of doing things, and innovate. I also think that sometimes you need to accept that you’re not good at everything and know how to surround yourself with the right people to get the job done.” The dynamic spirit of young entrepreneurs is also a key to success. One she admires is Christian Marcoux of Christian Marcoux, Cuisine et Mobilier Design, “He’s a very motivated young man, full of ideas. He’s made a name for himself, is expanding and we’ll be seeing more and more of him.” Christian Marcoux, Cuisine et Mobilier Design is growing and received a 2015 Nobilis Award from the Association des professionnels de la construction et de l’habitation du Québec.
Key Success Factors
Having a solid foundation, a strong business plan and good strategies allows businesses to focus on development. “Successful businesses are those with a strong structure, that prioritize innovation, productivity and market development,” explains Marlène Bisson. For Claude Morin, mutual support is also at the heart of a business community’s success. This is why he believes a business network allows business owners to share their struggles and get the help they need, “Entrepreneurs who have a business network have a competitive advantage. It shows that they’re not working in a vacuum, they’re able to talk about their mistakes, open up and ask others for help. That’s really big.”
One of the main success factors is the availability of qualified manpower. “Successful businesses also choose strategies that make them stand out as a top employer, which makes them attractive from a recruitment point-of-view and creates a feeling of pride and belonging for their employees,” highlights Marlène Bisson. A local business she admires is Métal Bernard Inc. for its “retention strategy, ability to attract employees and the managerial focus on teams, members and employees who make up the company. It’s one of their strengths.”
When discussing the future of Beauce businesses, everyone agrees: the lack of manpower in the region represents a major stake in its economic development. “Historically, Beauce has always been a very vibrant and entrepreneurial region with a very low unemployment rate. So, our biggest challenge right now is an employee shortage. It’s slowing down the region’s economic growth,” asserts Daniel Chaîné. If this issue is a major problem for the region’s entrepreneurial future, it is also a sign of a growing economy and low unemployment. “Right now, Beauce’s job offering is greater than the demand. It’s full employment. Businesses have all kinds of openings they’re unable to fill. The challenge of managers now is retaining their employees […] and attracting new employees, either from the area or outside,” adds Nathalie Roy.
Nancy Labbé believes that putting more emphasis on professional training could help the problem, “We need to promote various professional training options. We have enormous business needs in terms of the demand for machinists, welders and mechanics. It’s essential. The demand is high but not a lot of young people are studying these trades. We need to promote them because there are great jobs in these areas and you can have a great quality of life if you choose this academic path.” She also believes that businesses need to adapt their human resource practices to today’s reality, “We need to take care of our employees while being imaginative in our hiring approach. You hear a lot of talk about HR marketing. Our entrepreneurs will need to set themselves apart with their HR practices.”
Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton: Supporting Beauce Businesses for 50 Years
The people of Beauce have been calling on Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton’s experts for 50 years to help them with their various business challenges. “I have known Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton for 25 years. It is a preferential and strategic partner that supports businesses and offers excellent assurance, tax and consulting expertise. Beauce businesses are very lucky to benefit from these services,” says Daniel Chaîné. Over the years, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton has set itself above the rest by providing support to the community, as evidenced by Nancy Labbé’s comments, “Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton has always been present. You can see it. They’re involved in the community. When I think of them, I think of competent and available people. Thriving for 50 years is something! Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton is the source of many business successes.” Nathalie Roy adds, “Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton is a firm that is very present and involved in the development of our region. Its team of professionals has their clients’ growth at heart. Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton is very active in the region, not only because it offers professional services but because it really participates in the region’s expansion. It offers information and training. Its community involvement is really exceptional.”
Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton’s partners and professionals would like to thank the people in the various Beauce business associations for sharing their comments in this article. These dedicated leaders have contributed to the development of Beauce’s businesses and economy. Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton is proud to have been active in the Beauce community for 50 years, through its close ties with various business associations. Together, we will continue to innovate in order to support Beauce businesses in reaching their full growth potential.