May 3, 2022

The District Central and e-commerce: A promising duo

A matter of affinity, attribute and opportunity, since 2018, the SDC District Central has made e-commerce one of the development vectors of its technology hub. Four years later, the odds are still in its favour.


“The District Central offers a quality-built environment characterized by large spaces, high ceilings and easy access to loading docks. Three elements often sought after by online businesses,” explains Hélène Veilleux, Executive Director of the SDC District Central. Affordable rent and the fact that many large real estate owners are located in the District Central also add to its appeal. “They truly are partners, capable of supporting businesses in their development. Especially since the volume of rental space offers great elasticity and can accommodate all growth phases of a business,” says the Executive Director. Another key feature in her opinion is the proximity to highways, and the convenience of transportation.


From her point of view, it is nonetheless, the social and economic environment of the territory that is proving to be the best seller. A number of businesses specialized in this area have made the District Central their home for many years already. Not to mention the urban manufacturers and retailers in the area whose activities are increasingly based on the operation of transactional sites. The experience acquired and the idea of working with these pioneers is very attractive.


In recent years, invited to reflect on the future alongside various socio-economic representatives and residents, District Central entrepreneurs not only developed a shared vision, but also forged relationships. As a result, says Hélène Veilleux, “entrepreneurs have access to a genuine community by choosing the District Central.”


It is from this same community that the idea was born to develop a place dedicated to e-commerce businesses and to launch a contest to attract future leaders in this sector of activity to the territory. Two projects have already been completed.


In the fall of 2021, a shared space, dedicated to businesses in this sector and offering à la carte services, was created in the District Central. That same year, in collaboration with PME MTL Centre-Ouest, the SDC also launched the District e-commerce contest. Participation was a true success with three businesses being awarded prizes. More importantly, the initiative led to the installation of four new e-commerce firms in the District Central, namely MTL B-Board, ECOCAT, Murri and Plogit, two of which are located in ClickSpace.


Given the success of the contest, a second edition was recently confirmed. Like last year, the grants and associated prizes totalling $100,000, will be shared among three winning businesses. The target audience is the same, young businesses. New, however, is the fact that winners will be able to participate in training and networking activities with contest partners and local businesses.


For Alexandre Skerjli, Director of Strategic Initiatives at PME MTL Centre-Ouest, there is no doubt that, the contest – especially in its current format – has the potential to support the development of e-commerce entrepreneurship. “Thanks to the quality of the partners involved, the first edition attracted 40 applicants. What we want to do now is to allow more businesses to sign up and to make sure they learn things along the way. Selling online is the initial reflex of new entrepreneurs today. The role of PME MTL is to support them. The contest is the way to make this possible.


The deadline to submit an application is May 31, 2022.


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