2022 Activity Report – Highlights
MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Do more. Do better. Together. For the benefit of the entire community.
This sums up 2022 for the SDC District Central.
As a result of increased public funding, five years after laying the groundwork for the organization, the ideal budget of $1.5 M was achieved this past year. As reflected in this annual report, the financial leeway gained has allowed for the development of new services for businesses, as well as significant advances in the redevelopment of the territory. Moreover, the organization’s reach on the Montreal scene has never been greater.
Delia De Gasperis, cpa, ca
Chair of the Board of Directors
THE DISTRICT CENTRAL
3 km2 of territory
3 business pillars: design, technology and urban manufacturing
4th largest employment hub in Montreal
25,000 workers and potential to accommodate up to 40,000 workers
25 million sq. ft. of commercial and office space
320 non-residential properties
$1.5B in total value of non-residential buildings
$3M in private money invested in outreach, animation and development of the neighbourhood
Breathe new life into this legendary quarter, make it shine on a broader stage and propel it to very top of Montréal's economic landscape.
HIGHLIGHTS OF 2022
- Launch of the new HR Services project for businesses
- Implementation of the first collaborative circles
- Hosting of Montreal Fashion Week activities
- 2nd edition of the District e-commerce contest
- Leaders in Sustainable Mobility Awards – the SDC receives the Fédérateur award
- Inauguration of the new mural at 9200 Meilleur
- Real estate event, District Central : le nouveau visage de Montréal
- Definition of a vision and action plan – Industrial Merchants
- Development of an action plan for the territory’s signature
- Codesign day: Mode & Textile
- Hosting a delegation of French companies
- Summer activities on the territory
SUPPORTING AND ACCOMPANYING MEMBERS
Connector of Opportunities Project
2022 marks the second year of the Connector of Opportunities project in the SDC District Central. Based on a sharing economy, this project aims to identify the needs and business opportunities specific to the territory’s companies and ultimately to create connections between them. It relies on visiting businesses, bringing together entrepreneurs with similar needs, and organizing networking workshops and collaborative circles. When necessary, communities of experts, grouped by business hub or issue, are also called upon. Supported by the Fonds d’initiative et de rayonnement de la métropole, the project has experienced significant growth over the past 12 months.
123 new participating businesses
141 businesses in the solicitation phase
123 new business connections made
4 networking workshops, including 2 collaborative circles
5 communities of experts
HR Services project
Since June 2022, the SDC has been providing District Central businesses with new human resources services. Funded by Services Québec, this initiative allows entrepreneurs to better understand and use existing employability services on the territory, to get inspiration and share best practices, and to benefit from various recruitment and workforce management tips and advice.
43 businesses have benefited from the services offered
Short-circuit business district
In February 2022, the SDC District Central began a major project on short circuits. Carried out in collaboration with representatives of the business community and based on the territory’s assets and heritage, this project aims to define the territory’s potential in terms of local marketing and to put in place an ecosystem capable of supporting it. Eventually, the SDC hopes to make the District Central the first short-circuit business district in Quebec.
Identified as a promising project in the District Central’s 2020 Relaunch Plan, collaborative circles officially started this year. These circles provide a forum for businesses in the District to exchange ideas and share best practices around common issues. The first six collaborative circles focused, respectively, on succession planning in the fashion industry, funding, HR (employer branding, retention, and recruitment) and business growth.
Training, conferences and corporate activities
The gradual lifting of health restrictions has allowed some face-to-face events to resume. Others were added or offered online. Several were organized in collaboration with partner organizations. All were opportunities for member businesses of the SDC and their partners to meet, learn and exchange.
Trade shows or events
PROMOTING AND ANIMATING THE TERRITORY
The Builders’ Program aims to mobilize the territory’s building owners around key projects for the development and outreach of the District Central. The past year was marked by the achievement of two large-format billboard campaigns, coupled with a networking event organized in the form of a discovery tour intended for representatives of the business community and the Montreal real estate ecosystem. These initiatives were made possible thanks to financial contributions from the Ville de Montréal and the Government of Quebec, as well as from local property owners. These are the first projects funded in part by the Program.
2nd edition of the District e-commerce contest
Organized jointly by the District Central and PME MTL Centre-Ouest, the second edition of the District e-commerce contest was held in 2022. Aimed at young e-commerce businesses wishing to settle down or already established in the District Central, once again this year, the contest offered a $100,000 prize in products and services. For the first time, all registered candidates also benefitted from a day of training. The three winning businesses are Proud Diamond, Wide the Brand and Boco Boco. They were chosen from nine finalists and more than 26 submissions.
Codesign day Mode & textile
With its partner Communautique, the SDC District Central brought together representatives from the fashion and design industry from both sides of the Atlantic to discuss Montreal’s place in this sector. Organized in a hybrid format, the event featured a dozen speakers directly concerned by the major upheavals that are currently affecting the industry. Challenges related to distribution, short circuits and corporate eco-responsibility were addressed.
Building on past successes, the SDC District Central continued its communication efforts in 2022. The content posted on the organization’s website and various social media platforms helped fuel the brand’s image while highlighting the territory’s businesses and initiatives. Special efforts were also made to anchor the brand on the territory by introducing pop-up signage elements during events such as Montreal Fashion Week.
- 9 videos
- 11 articles
- 6 digital awareness campaigns
- 2 large format billboard campaigns
- 2 pop-up signage installations
- Millions of people reached
Activities for the general public
Combining the everyday with the extraordinary to enliven the area and make it a place where life is good, is one of the objectives pursued by the SDC District Central in the process of requalifying the district. After two years of reduced programming due to the public health situation, 2022 saw a return to normal for public activities. The response has been worthy of the efforts made.
Signature of the District Central
In 2022, after having conducted several workshops on the future and development of the territory, the SDC District Central adopted an action plan aimed at translating its brand identity on the territory. The elements of the territory’s signature selected are expressed through the built environment, the landscaping, furniture, and signage and have as their common thread the idea of pollinating the space and the community. The plan will be implemented over five years, beginning in 2023. It is an important step in the process of requalifying the territory.
Integration of public art
Since spring 2022, the District Central has a third mural to beautify its territory. Created by Les Frères Lama, under the direction of the LNDMRK marketing agency, the work is displayed on the façade of 9200 Meilleur. It is the result of a private-public partnership between the borough of Ahuntsic-Cartierville, the SDC District Central and property owner AEDN Realty.
Recognition for sustainable mobility
The continued efforts of the SDC District Central in terms of sustainable development were recognized in a special way in 2022. The organization was honoured in the Fédérateur category of the annual Leaders en mobilité durable Awards presented by the Centres de gestion de déplacements métropolitains. This award highlighted the organization’s understanding of sustainable mobility issues, the efficiency of its initiatives and the relevance of its actions. This is the first award won by the SDC since its inception.
MOBILIZE AND REPRESENT
Call for urban and innovative projects – Vacant lot at 50-150 Louvain West
In the fall of 2021, Mayor Plante announced her intention to proceed with a call for urban and innovative projects for the vacant lot at 50-150 Louvain West. In preparation for this exercise, the SDC District Central participated in several workshops with the city centre in 2022. The criteria to be taken into consideration in the call for projects were at the heart of discussions. The idea of introducing the notion of mixed use with the addition of a residential function was notably put forward. The proposal was accepted and in December 2022, the borough initiated a process of change to the urban plan that will allow, among other things, housing under specific conditions.
The SDC took advantage of the 2022 provincial election campaign to make the voice of its business community heard. Three issues and requests were brought to the attention of the candidates running for office in the territory: mobility and the connection of the District to the developing REM, the valorization of trades of the industrial sector and support of local manufacturing, as well as the development of the sharing economy through the implementation of partnership programs.
Socioeconomic commitments, conferences and hosting of delegations
The SDC District Central team was increasingly solicited to take part in working groups initiated by partners or at roundtables. Invitations to speak at conferences or to act as a panelist at public events were also on the rise. The last year was also marked by the reception of a number of delegations, curious to learn more about the territory.
Ethical economic charter
First proposed in 2020, the idea of an ethical economic charter for the territory took shape in 2022. A territorial portrait was developed based on existing research and data. It will be enriched based on the results of a survey to be conducted in 2023. The exercise should make it possible to measure the existing interactions between businesses in the territory, their type, size, maturity and level of commitment to social responsibility. The objective is to identify the moral principles to be applied with respect to the economic development of the territory and to constitute a participative governance to coordinate interventions. The project is led by the urban planning consulting firm ÉLÉMENTS Planification urbaine in collaboration with university researchers.
A DEVELOPMENT TEAM AND RESOURCES
By the end of 2022, the SDC District Central had a team of seven seasoned professionals with a passion for development. Their combined expertise made it possible to meet the challenge of growth and to respond to the needs expressed by the members.
With a view to attracting and retaining employees, the organization has also adopted a global compensation policy. A workshop on the employer brand was also initiated. This exercise involves the current team and aims to define the values and behaviours desired in an organization. Eventually, it should be accompanied by an action plan to promote the SDC as an employer of choice.
A POSITIVE BALANCE SHEET
The year 2022 ended with a surplus of $90,772, which was better than anticipated in the budget adopted by the SDC members in 2021. This situation is explained by the increase in revenues and expenses related to the City of Montreal's subsidy under the 2022-2024 SDC Support Program, from $100,000 to $350,000 per year for the next three years.
A PROMISING FUTURE
In 2023, the SDC District Central will have an operating budget of $1,742,227.29 to conduct its activities.
It intends to take advantage of the available funds to:
Deploy phase 1 of the Action Plan for the territory signature
Increase the number of business matches thanks to the Connector of Opportunities project
Increased communication efforts to promote the territory and its businesses
Implement a shared parking service
Animate the territory through public events and outdoor pop-up spaces
A MOBILIZED COMMUNITY
To achieve its mission, the SDC District Central can count on the commitment of nearly 60 representatives from the business and community sectors.
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