Why Is Montreal a Great City for European Businesses to Expand Into?
Montreal, in the province of Quebec in Canada, is a thriving, cosmopolitan city with plenty to offer, a great job and skills market (by current North American standards), and an excellent standard of living. If you are a business that currently operates solely in Europe, and you are interested in putting down some roots in North America, Montreal and Quebec as a whole can be a wonderful place to start. Here are some of the reasons why:
Photo by Dominic Simpson
The French Language
Quebec is the only part of Canada whose official language is French – everywhere else in Canada it is English, as it is in the USA. Most people in Quebec, particularly in business communities, do speak a very high standard of English too as this is necessary to trade with the rest of the country and the USA, however the people of Quebec are proud of their language and given the choice, speak French. It is also an immigration requirement coming into Quebec to have a certain degree of practical French, which of course it isn’t in the rest of Canada. So why is this an advantage to you as a European business? Well, many Canadian and American businesses who want to expand into Quebec have a lot of difficulty because of the language difference. However, if you already operate in or trade with French customers, then you probably have already got French speaking staff and all of your assets (such as your website and product packaging) in French. This gives you a competitive advantage right off the bat!
A Very Supportive City for Businesses
Montreal is a very successful city, yet keeps its reputation as somewhere clean, safe, and nice to be. It is also a city that is very supportive of businesses of all sizes, and it is one where it is very easy to network and ingrain yourself into the business community. In addition to this, you will find that commercial real estate in Montreal can be purchased or rented at reasonable prices compared to other major North American cities you may want to consider as landing points.
A Great Place to Relocate to, or Hire New Staff
If you are planning to man your new North American HQ with people from your existing European teams (at least at first), Montreal is an appealing city for people to relocate to, especially for French people or those who speak strong French. In fact, immigration from France to Quebec is at an all time high, especially among younger professionals. If you were planning to hire people already based in your new location, Montreal has some great educational establishments and lots of talented young professionals, so getting talent here is not usually difficult at all.
When looking for a place to start up in North America as a European business, the city you will find most culturally familiar is almost certainly Quebec. Happily, this is also a terrific environment for a business with loads of other great advantages!