a look back at a visit to familiar lands that have become foreign lands

from the end of april to mid-June, i worked from my home country, france. in addition to allowing me to be close to my french family and friends, this opportunity to do my work remotely allowed me to be inspired by what's going on elsewhere, and confirmed my love for montréal. main to do my work remotely gave me the opportunity to be inspired by what's happening elsewhere, and confirmed that I still love Montreal just as much as ever.


between lille, bretagne and gand, my stay in a foreign land was first and foremost a challenge of work organization. to avoid juggling the time difference between eastern daylight saving time and european time, i decided to maintain a montreal schedule.

this adaptation to telecommuting with atypical european working hours didn't upset my colleagues, although it did upset my family and friends who saw me working late into the evening. i also had to reorganize my french social activities so that they took place in the morning rather than in the evening, at least from monday to thursday.

fortunately, while I was in lille for two weeks, I was very happy to be able to count on a coworking infrastructure at euratechnologies, accessible 24 hours a day. this was a very welcome advantage, which also enabled me to enjoy some festive evenings after work.


Speaking of euratechnologies, or euratech for those in the know, I took advantage of my time in France to discover the workings of other local startup ecosystems.

in lille, the dazzling success of retail giants, mostly propelled by the mulliez family and their innovative vision (e.g. decathlon, leroy merlin, to name but a few), has led to the growth of a major start-up ecosystem.

This visit, as well as the conversations I had with the people who work at euratech, reminded me of the need for collaboration between the various players for an ecosystem to function optimally, but also for openness to complementary ecosystems, as is the case between paris and lille.

One of the major differences I've noticed is the private funding behind the creation of these important spaces for startupsacceleration . Without the Mulliez family, the Lille ecosystem wouldn't have taken off as quickly as it has.


another important benefit of being abroad is the pretext it gives to facilitate meetings. by presenting myself as a new arrival in france, in addition to my new role as unit manager, introductions were easier. and even then, after so many years in montreal, my attempts at chance meetings came up against two major issues in terms of the france-québec cultural difference.

the first difference concerns the way people meet. in france, it's still mainly face-to-face. most of the people with whom I exchanged had the reflex of proposing face-to-face meetings rather than virtual ones. yes, the country is smaller than canada, but, being based in bretagne, I had to refuse several meetings that had been scheduled in paris.

the second major difference is the difficulty of approaching someone, especially in management roles, in france without an initial introduction. on this point, I greatly missed montreal, where managers of large organizations, even multinationals, are easier to approach.


I also took the opportunity to take part in an international event, the world incubation summit organized by ubi global. this event, which would have required a plane flight from montreal to belgium to get me there, only required a quick train ticket.

In addition to the interesting program, what struck me about this experience of attending an event was the importance of taking care of foreign participants, helping them to feel at ease and transforming the experience into a genuine cultural and professional enrichment.

Whether it's treating our colleagues with respect, opening ourselves up to new connections, or organizing events that facilitate interaction, it's always the human element that is at the heart of our work.

Also, my stay abroad allowed me to reconnect with friends and family I hadn't seen for too long. and that's good.

- tiamy, unit manager - support to theacceleration