The “post-crisis” economy is already shaping up. Let’s support it.

The virus is spreading at variable speed, but mitigation measures have hit all sectors of the economy head on, with an effect not unlike that of firmly applying both feet on the brake pedal. Canada’s startup and innovation ecosystem wasn’t spared. Investors are being cautious, potential customers suddenly have other fish to fry. Our startup barometer confirms this: without fresh money and support, the engine of our future economy may well run out of steam, collapse and seriously hamper the recovery. Investments are needed quickly.

Profitability is a treacherous mirage

Governments have announced a throng of measures and billions of dollars to support workers and businesses and keep the economy from going dead. Yet, as we are busy pumping oxygen into the system, short-term profitability criteria are dangerously impeding blood flow to its legs as a de facto exclusion of most innovators.

To give millions in subsidies to companies that were profitable “before” is an assumption that business will soon be “as usual” again. Flying to the rescue of well-run operations seriously hit by the crisis is the natural, obvious thing to do. Canadians want to regain the country, cities and freedom they cherished before the crisis … but also, if possible, something better, more sustainable, less fragile.

And it is possible. Just ask these entrepreneurs who for the past few weeks have already been hard at work imagining how we will operate restaurants, shop for groceries or organize festivals in a post-COVID-19 world. Those who are busy rethinking the mechanisms of individual and collective transportation so that they continue to function during the next pandemic. And what about all those geeks, scientists and engineers developing technologies and algorithms that will speed up the detection of the next infection, facilitate the triage and treatment of patients, or optimize the distribution of medical supplies.

These inventors exist and are at work right now. They employ real people, in real jobs — which by the way are the envy of many countries. They love a challenge and now have a stack of them for years to come. But make no mistake: their companies will not turn a profit the minute we can resume our picnics in the park. There will undoubtedly come a time, a posteriori, when some of these businesses will be viewed as having been an essential investment, with the returns ranging far beyond their financial performance.

Realism… and optimism

Let’s be realistic. Many companies will not survive the current global electroshock. The same goes for startups. Except that in their world, it’s normal. Entrepreneurs looking for an innovation that can improve the processes of a thousand companies or the plight of a million humans at once know that they can’t succeed every time. That doesn’t stop them from believing. And their efforts are never in vain: even in failure, their skills, breakthroughs, inventiveness are quickly recycled and help speed up other projects.

Innovation isn’t the work of a handful of geniuses working individually. It is the result of complex interactions between a multitude of actors driven by the quest for solutions and a better world. In Canada, and elsewhere, it is this ecosystem that will give legs to our economy when the world regains its senses. Let us not deprive it of economic stimulus on the pretext that “it isn’t profitable” — we wouldn’t use this argument to close universities!

We need to give our entrepreneurs the impetus — today — to shape a better future for all of us. They have the talent and the passion to reinvent themselves, and to reinvent us. So let’s put our collective foot on the accelerator. Now.

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This letter is supported by the following 134 entrepreneurs

Dominic Gagnon, président, Connect&GO
Virgile Ollivier, cofondateur et président, Livescale

David Usher, Founder, Reimagine AI
Hugh McGuire, Founder & CEO, Pressbooks
Julien Smith, Founder, Breather
Claude Théoret, fondateur, IC Excellent Ventures

Paul Allard, CEO, impak Finance inc. (Montréal)
Xavier Peich, CEO, SmartHalo (Montréal)
Anthea Sargeaunt, CEO, 2S Water Incorporated (Alberta)
Christine Renaud, cofondatrice & PDG, e180 (Montréal)
Genevieve Leclerc, CEO, Meet4Impact
Nogol Madani, Founder and President, Glee Factor
Jonathan Rouxel et Edouard Ferron-Mallett, cofondateurs, Prologue AI
Marina Pavlovic Rivas, Co-founder & CEO, Eli
André Maynard, président du conseil, Lexop
Jeremi Lavoie, PDG, Arctic Fox AI

Patrick Sauvageau, président et cofondateur, Zilia (Capitale-Nationale)
Julien Maitrehenry, CEO, Kumojin
Dany Papineau, fondateur & CEO, WeChalet (Estrie)
Alain Phaneuf, PDG, Phaneuf International inc. (Montérégie)
Kerlando Morette, CEO, InnovaPub (Laval)
Caroline Arnouk, fondatrice et présidente, Technologies OPA (Laval)
Lina Forcier, CEO et épidémiologiste, et Geneviève Poliquin, COO, Factually Health (Montréal)
Annie Cyr, fondatrice & CEO, CACITH inc. (Montréal)
Chloé Dussault-Benoit et Geneviève Arsenault-Labrecque, cofondatrices, AYOS diagnostic
Jean-Rémi Pouliot, CEO, et Philippe Berrouard, CTO, Brilliant Matters

Laurent Dallaire, président et CEO, Laboratoire Innodal
Francis Bélime, président, Akova inc.
Laila Benameur, Co-founder, Impactful Health R&D (Montréal)
Sylvain Boudrias, président, DARSPEC (Montérégie)
John Bonardelli, CEO et cofondateur, Nesting Safe inc. et GroundUp Data Technologies (Montréal)
Louis-Philippe Sutton, président, StatsRadio (Capitale-Nationale)
Miljan Cecez, président, Solution ProbTek (Estrie)
Denis Chen, CEO, SiRP (Montréal)
Rodolphe Barrere, Co-Founder & CEO, Potloc (Montréal)
François Therriault-Proulx, PDG, et Simon Lambert Girard, CTO, Medscint inc.
Joey Hebert, président et fondateur, MOS
Mathieu Champagne, cofondateur, Bliq Photonique
Raphaël Dubé-Demers, PDG, EHVA Inc.
Frederic Scherer, CEO, JITbase
Maxime Gauthier Bourbonnais, CEO, Xavier Lavallée, cofondateur et directeur produit, et Francis Villiard, directeur de l’expérience client, Merinio

Philippe Babin, PDG, et François Ménard, CTO, AEPONYX Inc.
Hugo McGuire, CEO & co-founder, eNUVIO Inc.
Julien Chosson, CEO, Wastack
Mike Boutin, CEO, Innov2Learn
Hugo Brizard, président et cofondateur, Pharonyx Technologies
Marc-André Roberge, CEO, Nectar
Jean-Philippe Sicard, CEO, et Sébastien Bibeau, cofondateur, Ton Équipier
Philippe Beaudoin, Fondateur et CEO, Waverly
Jean-Sébastien Carrier, PDG, Dyze Design
Keaven Martin, CEO, and Hilel Hamadache, COO
, Evey (Montréal)
Fred Dionne, CEO, 8X
Ian Delisle, cofondateur et président, Brizo Data
Guy Doucet, CEO, Intelligent Cellars inc.
Frédérick Gignac, PDG, et Samuel Lamontagne, entrepreneur, TrIAmec
Laurent Blanchet, CEO, Samuel Lecours, CFO, et Guillaume Gaudet, chef des opérations, Biolift
Daniel Fountenberry, CEO, Coteacher

Francis Beaulieu, cofondateur et CEO, SOLIDLY Health
Trevor Longino, CEO, et John Espinoza, CTO, Indivity
Luca Cuccia, Co-Founder and CEO, Phyla

William St-Pierre, CEO, Jonathan Lefebvre, cofondateur et VP opérations, et Arash Hadadian, Product Manager, Mechasys
Martin Landry, CEO, Intelligence Industrielle
Martin Lafrance, président, Technologies UEAT inc.
Félix Deschatelets, Co-Founder & CEO, Emma
Francis Couture, fondateur, Artifici inc.
Marianne Burkic, CEO, Yapouni inc.
Daniel Leblanc, CEO, Inbe

Julien Brault, PDG, Hardbacon
Lahou Keita, cofondatrice, Keitas Systems
Ghani Kolli, président, HumanYo+Impact
Frederick Foley Rousseau, CEO, Récompenses Flipit (Laval)
Eric Waldman, président, 9388-4534 Québec inc.
Louis-Philippe Sutton, président, StatsRadio
Alain Boudreau, CEO, Solutions Centrix
Ugo Soum, partenaire principal, Yoogs inc.
Bruno-Pierre Privé, président, et Arnaud Bertrand, VP opérations, OfficiumLIVE (Québec)
Isabelle Lopez, CEO, MySmartJourney
Mary Khing, fondatrice, Lareinezen
Shawn Painter, Co-founder, VTpayments inc.
Pholysa Mantryvong, président,
Gareth Morgan, CEO, Metareal Inc.
Stéphanie Goyer-Morin, fondatrice, Goye artiste céramiste
Gabriel Turbide, cofondateur, Les Technologies Meliorem inc.

Stéphane Dufour, président, MakeSens inc.
Christopher Wells, CEO & cofondateur, Piecemeal (Montréal)
Mathew Zimola, CEO, ReelData A.I. (Nova Scotia)
Josh Ogden, CEO, AVSS — Aerial Vehicle Safety Solutions inc. (New Brunswick)
Martin Clermont, président et fondateur, Les Solutions Will (Montérégie)
Sylvie Leduc, présidente et fondatrice, Optim-Ret (Montréal)
Francine Barbeau, propriétaire, Groupe Conseils DDE (Capitale-Nationale)
Yves Dubé, président, Sensorium inc. (Montréal)
Liliana Braescu, President, Matelligence inc. (Montréal)
Gabriel Biron, President, Winston Studio (Québec)
Amir Yadghar, CEO, Extergy (Montréal)
Adolfo Klassen, CEO, Paladin AI (Montréal)
Guillaume Hervé, CEO, Zetane Systems (Montréal)
Sean Cullen, CEO, PivoHub (Montréal)
Emily Charry Tissier, CEO, Whale Seeker (Montréal)
Alexandre Beaulieu, directeur des opérations, Kick Adaptive Technologies
Myrik Hervieux-Gaudreau, cofondateur et CFO, GPHY
Julie Lemonde, directrice exécutive, Efferent AI
Laurence Poissant, CMO, PreVu3D
Philippe Dicaire, VP ventes et marketing, Optania Solutions inc. (Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean
Michael Smith, COO, Zea
Simon Roy, CFO, Devolutions inc.
Christopher Baenninger, président, NewBase Média
Dany Robitaille, cofondateur et vice-président, ALTKEY
Carole Poliquin, vice-présidente, Les productions ISCA
Nicolas Gonzalez Thomas, CTO, Spliqs Intelligent Media (British Columbia)
Mathieu Tougas, CTO, HCare (Montréal)
Cindy Labrecque, artiste/céramiste, Atelier Labrecque (Québec)
Mélanie Deneault, directrice, Agir ensemble pour le développement des enfants (Montérégie)
Nick Katalifos, Centre Principal, Wagar Adult Education Centre (Montréal)
Fred Davilmar, directeur des opérations, VDC Télécom (Montréal)
Cassandra Wood, Business Development and Marketing Coordinator, P3 Permaculture inc. (Montréal)

It was also endorsed by representatives from 61 organizations supporting startups

Louis-Félix Binette, directeur général, MAIN Québec
François Gilbert, président-directeur général, Anges Québec et Anges Québec Capital
Patrick Gagné, cofondateur, et Liette Lamonde, cofondatrice, Bonjour startup Montréal
Sébastien Tanguay, directeur principal, Le CAMP (Québec)
Chloé Legris, directrice générale, Amélia Bourbonnais, coordonnatrice administrative, et Cédric Laigniel, coordonnateur des communications et de la logistique, Espace-inc (Estrie)
David Santelli, PDG, Rhizome
Sylvain Carle, associé, Real Ventures
Noor Elhuda El Bawab, Director of Programs, Zú
Paule De Blois, PDG, et Marc Perron, chargé de projet, SOVAR (Québec)
Alain-Olivier Desbois, CEO, Elements Financial (Estrie)
Richard Chénier, directeur général, Luc Giguère, entrepreneur en residence et Fabrice Lauzon, coordonnateur de programme, Centech
Ghyslain Goulet, président directeur général, et Cécile Vincent, directrice des partenariats et communications, ACET Banque Nationale (Estrie)
Xavier-Henri Hervé, Executive Director, Mohamad Ismail, Associate, and Ana Fernandez Cruz, Life Sciences Coordinator, District 3 Innovation Center at Concordia University (Montréal)
Manaf Bouchentouf, directeur exécutif, La base entrepreneuriale — HEC Montréal
Pascal Grenier, directeur général, Esplanade Montréal
Michael-Anthony Clement, directeur général, Institut Innovation Gatineau (Outaouais)
Richard Cloutier, président et chef de la direction, Ecofuel
Philippe Nadeau, directeur général, DigiHub (Mauricie)
Delphine Beauchamp, co-directrice générale, La Piscine
Bruno Morency, directeur général, et Justine Marchand, program manager, Techstars Montréal AI
Thierry St-Cyr, directeur général, CIAMIL (Laval)
Layial El-Hadi, Executive Director, et Pascal Van Wynendaele, responsable de la communauté fintech, Fintech Cadence (Montréal)
Sarah Girouard, directrice générale, Quartier artisan (Estrie)
Alexandre Guindon, directeur général, 2 Degrés (Québec)
Ilias Benjelloun, cofounder, Montréal NewTech
Valérie Hénaire, directrice, Quantino (Capitale-Nationale)
Alistair Croll, Partner, Startupfest
François Bilodeau, directeur général, Laval Innov
André Métras, directeur général, MagogTechnopole (Estrie)
Annick Charbonneau, directrice générale, Fonds entrepreneuriat féminin
Noémie Giguère, directrice générale, Technopole maritime du Québec (Bas-Saint-Laurent)
Ahmed Benbouzid, directeur général, Réseau MicroEntreprendre
David Gobeille-Kaufman, cofondateur et directeur général, et Amélie Arès, facilitatrice et chargée de projet, Mangrove
Étienne Dansereau, coordonnateur à l’innovation, Open Trois-Rivières (Mauricie)
Olivier Rousseau, vice-président, Apollo13 (Québec)
Davender Gupta, président, The Scaleup Project – Scaleup-Académie
Russel Tremblay, responsable des programmes d’entrepreneuriat, Centre d’entrepreneuriat et de valorisation des innovations (Côte-Nord)
Florence Barbeau, gestionnaire du parcours d’incubation, MT Lab
Joanne Doucet, coordonnatrice des activités, La SUITE entrepreneuriale Desjardins CIDAL (Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean)
Vanessa Jouan, responsable de parcours, Polytechnique
Martine Lacasse, conseillère développement économique, La Manufacture (Laurentides)
Clélia Cothier, Challenge Prize Fellow, Impact Canada
Alejandro Martinez-Ramos, Programming Director, Montreal NewTech
Thibault Bloyet, Program Manager, Polytechnique Montréal, Impac’h
Andréanne Daigle, conseillère aux entreprises, Granby Industriel Entrepreneuriat Haute-Yamaska (Montérégie)
Hélène Bernatchez, VP investissements, Fonds Innovexport s.e.c. (Québec)
Martin Couillard, Business Development Manager, WORLDiscoveries Asia (Montréal)
Stéphane Rousseau, cofondateur, et Christian Beaubien, VP Business Development, Accélération, Design et Innovation inc. (Montréal)
Octave Niamie, coordonnateur, Food Hub (Montréal)

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