The Ontario government has announced it is providing $380,000 to the Fédération des gens d’affaires francophones de l’Ontario (FGA) to expand its support services for francophone start-ups and growing businesses.

The FGA’s initiative aims to develop a francophone business ecosystem in Ontario to enable entrepreneurs to connect to francophone organizations that will support them in the business pre-incubation, incubation, implementation, and acceleration phases. Several key stakeholders and actors from the Franco-Ontarian business sector participated in the development of this initiative.

“Our government considers the Francophonie an essential economic asset for the province. This new investment aligns with Ontario’s priority to set favourable conditions to encourage and support the success of francophone entrepreneurs and businesses,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Francophone Affairs. “We proudly stand behind the FGA’s project, which aims to support start-ups and growing businesses as well as the next generation of francophone entrepreneurs, in particular women and newcomers to Canada.”

“With the implementation of a provincial Francophone business ecosystem, the Fédération des gens d’affaires de l’Ontario is proud to play a unifying role for organizations which are constantly stimulating the growth of the Franco-Ontarian business community,” said Dominic Mailloux, President of the Fédération des gens d’affaires de l’Ontario. “Thanks to the support of the Ontario Ministry of Francophone Affairs, we will soon offer an innovative online portal allowing the sharing and integration of incubation programs and projects.”

“Aiming at bringing our collective innovation to new heights, it will offer new and sustainable collaborative spaces (virtual and physical), including CCO’s Tracés collectifs and EntrepreneuriatSÉO incubation solutions that facilitate the development of our Francophone businesses.”

“The Société Économique de l’Ontario is very proud of EntrepreneuriatSÉO, the first province-wide virtual business incubator for Francophone entrepreneurs and future entrepreneurs,” said Denis Laframboise, President of the Société Économique de l’Ontario. “Officially launched in November, EntrepreneuriatSÉO has generated several hundred requests for information and 35 people have registered for the first cohort, which began on November 22. This is quite a success and shows us that there is a real need in Ontario for such a project geared towards Francophone entrepreneurs. EntrepreneuriatSÉO, which was implemented in collaboration with more than 20 community partners, currently has seven specialized components. We are very pleased with this additional financial support from the Ontario Ministry of Francophone Affairs, which will allow us to enhance a new component we are currently developing for black Francophone women.”

“The Cooperation Council of Ontario is delighted to have the support of the Fédération des gens d’affaires de l’Ontario and the confidence of the Ontario Ministry of Francophone Affairs to promote and offer quality French-language services to Francophone communities, such as the very first Francophone incubation program offered in Toronto, Tracés collectifs,” said Julien Geremie, Executive Director at Cooperation Council of Ontario. “The $41,000 grant we will receive will allow us to open up access to the incubation program by offering bursaries to cover the participation fees of the candidates. It will also give us the opportunity to call upon local Francophone stakeholders to bring their expertise to our program, thus promoting the networking of an entire Francophone business ecosystem, which is necessary to enable francophone entrepreneurs to develop their impact projects.”

The new business ecosystem is based on a set of programs and initiatives which are part of an ongoing framework of support for entrepreneurs including:

  • An online portal connecting pre-incubation, incubation, implementation, and acceleration (PIIA) programs and projects;
  • Marketing support for ecosystem member organizations; and
  • Support for existing incubation programs offered by ecosystem member organizations.

Quick Facts
Ontario’s Francophone Business Ecosystem project was developed in collaboration with the Fédération des gens d’affaires de l’Ontario (FGA), the Conseil de la coopération de l’Ontario (CCO) and the Société Économique de l’Ontario (SÉO), with the support of Collège Boréal, Collège La Cité, the Fondation franco-ontarienne, and the Union des cultivateurs franco-ontariens.
Ontario’s francophone entrepreneurs represent about 4.2% of the province’s small and middle-sized businesses, which is slightly over 18,000 businesses and about 50% of francophone companies outside of Québec. (Source: Fédération des gens d’affaires francophones de l’Ontario)
As part of Ontario’s Fall Economic Statement in November 2021, the Ontario government announced an additional $1.5 million investment over three years, including $500,000 allocated in 2021-2022 to fund this project.