The main highlights of the annual economic report—significant investment growth in the industrial and commercial sectors, a healthy job-creation rate, a record number of construction projects and a business tourism industry on the verge of relaunch— were presented by the Saint-Hyacinthe Technopole today to a group of one hundred entrepreneurs and socio-economic and political representatives from the area.
First, the manufacturing sector. After several years of more timid investments, the industrial sector bounced back, nearly reaching its average investment level for the last seven years. A total of $157.7 million dollars was invested by the region’s industries in 2017, 36% more than the previous year. While most of this money went toward industrial expansion projects, six new companies with manufacturing activities were also established in Saint-Hyacinthe. All together, these projects created 546 new full-time jobs, 16% more than in 2016.
For the second consecutive year, the vibrant commercial sector enjoyed an investment level rarely seen in Saint-Hyacinthe. Attaining no less than $38.2 million, this indicator confirms a major transformation of the Maskoutan commercial core in 2017, namely spurred by municipal investments for the construction of a new convention centre. Private commercial capital investments rose 51% compared to the previous year, breaking the historic record reached in 2009. The Saint-Hyacinthe area had 253 investment projects underway in 2017. The City of Saint-Hyacinthe now includes 1,526 commercial and service businesses, representing an estimated 19,256 jobs overall.
Finally, still lacking convention infrastructures and sufficient lodging to accommodate participants, the total number of conventions and business events held in Saint-Hyacinthe (14 in 2017) was similar to previous years. The direct expenses linked to this type of activity remained at the historic low point reached in 2014, at a little over $362,000. Thankfully, the convention centre’s opening in mid-November officially marked the beginning of an upturn for business tourism in Saint-Hyacinthe.
As for leisure tourism, 50% of the attractions and events in Saint-Hyacinthe and the surrounding area reported an increase in patronage during the summer season. It appears that the major efforts made to promote Saint-Hyacinthe outside the region are having their intended effect. The region’s hotel sector recorded a rise in its average occupancy rate for the fourth consecutive year, landing at 71.2% in 2017, which is significantly higher than the Quebec-wide average (60% for the same time period).
Saint-Hyacinthe Technopole’s involvement is on the rise
In 2017, Saint-Hyacinthe Technopole’s various services helped bring about numerous investment projects and create many new jobs in Saint-Hyacinthe. During the course of the year, the members of the Technopole team assisted with over 248 projects with a potential to impact the local economy. Its work supported the growth projects of local businesses and industries, but also foreign companies in the course of prospection activities aiming to attract new businesses to Saint-Hyacinthe.
“At the end of the first year of its 2017–2019 strategic plan, Saint-Hyacinthe Technopole already reached several of the ambitious goals it set for this period. Its interventions, the decisions made by municipal authorities, the country’s economic recovery, bold ideas and the drive of our local business core all contributed to raising most of our economic indicators, in all three of the sectors we are involved in,” said Saint-Hyacinthe Technopole’s general manager, André Barnabé.
Announcement of new investments in the City of Biotechnology
Saint-Hyacinthe Technopole also took advantage of the gathering to announce three major investment projects planned in the Édouard-Brochu pavilion of the business development complex it owns in the heart of the City of Agri-Food, Veterinary and Agri-Environmental Biotechnology. Three businesses—Industrie Gastronomique Cascajares, DOSE Juice and Biovet—will be investing over $4M altogether to expand the facilities and increase their production capacity.
To help bring these projects to fruition, Saint-Hyacinthe Technopole will itself be investing a little over $1.6M in its building on Beaudry Avenue, most of which will go toward building two annexes totalling 10,000 square feet. Once the projects are completed, all the spaces in the complex will be occupied by eight tenant businesses working in the agri-food or veterinary sector.
“The prospects are highly encouraging and motivating. After three years of activity, more and more entrepreneurs are calling on our services and our members’ expertise. Saint-Hyacinthe Technopole’s credibility is built on a solid foundation and a well-established relationship of trust with the business sector and our partners, who see us as a local gateway for all business set-up, start-up and development projects in Saint-Hyacinthe,” concluded the organization’s chairperson, Bernard Forget.
You can find Saint-Hyacinthe Technopole’s complete annual here (french only).