The GoodSpark Fund will provide $150 million for initiatives across Quebec and Ontario
The Momentum Fund will support local business development
Desjardins is teaming up with Google and Bonjour Startup Montréal for an innovation competition

Montreal, April 29, 2020 - As Quebec gets ready to start reopening businesses, Desjardins is rolling out a strategy to help relaunch the economy. Desjardins has supported innovation and entrepreneurship throughout its 120-year history, and is now continuing in that tradition alongside other socio-economic leaders. To help businesses and community organizations stay positive throughout the relaunch, Desjardins has decided to back several initiatives.

"Community initiatives are often the best plan of action against difficult situations like the COVID-19 crisis. They need our support now more than ever, whether it's to get organizations and businesses back on their feet, jump on new development opportunities or create new partnerships," said Guy Cormier, President and CEO of Desjardins Group. "Desjardins has always been there when it mattered most, no matter how big or small the undertaking. Rest assured that our commitment to communities is unwavering."

Not only is Desjardins--the biggest private employer in Quebec and one of the biggest in Canada--throwing its weight behind reopening the economy, but it's also launching a strategy to reboot its own business activities. While adhering to government recommendations, it will put together a plan for its 47,000 employees and keep the organization active across Quebec to help communities bounce back.

The GoodSpark Fund: $150 million for Quebec and Ontario

The GoodSpark Fund will leverage its $150 million budget for initiatives extending into 2024 to stimulate social and economic activity throughout Quebec and Ontario. Financial support will go to the community initiatives that matter most, like employment, economic vitality, education and the environment. Organizations that want to apply for the GoodSpark Fund can contact their Desjardins caisse, where they'll receive support throughout the process.

The program will also feature a second phase, where members and clients will be invited to participate and promote key initiatives in their communities.

The Momentum Fund: $10 million to stimulate local business development

The Momentum Fund aims to help local businesses accelerate growth and create quality jobs--2 key drivers in regional economic development. Over the next 2 years, its $10 million budget will provide funding equal to 25% of project costs, up to a maximum of $10,000.

Businesses can apply under a wide range of categories, including digital transformation, ergonomics and physical distancing, psychological support, business model transformation, innovation, business succession, international market development, and investment in talent and energy-efficient equipment. Interested companies can contact their Desjardins Business centre to apply.

The <post> COVID Challenge: An innovation competition capitalizing on Quebec's collective ingenuity

Joining forces with Google and Bonjour Startup Montréal, Desjardins is launching a challenge to get Quebecers' innovative juices flowing. Between May 1 and June 2, competition participants will develop socio-economic solutions for the post-pandemic world. The Challenge is looking to promote strong entrepreneurship projects with a big social impact that encourage diversity and inclusion while bringing together people from different sectors across Quebec. Every organizing partner is issuing a specific challenge to participants, and Desjardins is focusing on health. It's calling on participants to create a solution that combines technology, support for seniors and innovation. To learn more about the competition, visit www.post-covid.ca.

Pay it Forward, Supported by Desjardins: A partnership with La Ruche Quebec

Desjardins is teaming up with the crowdfunding platform La Ruche Quebec to encourage consumers to shop local and support organizations in urgent need across the province. Until August 31, a $1 million budget will support community initiatives and encourage collaboration as part of the Pay it Forward, Supported by Desjardins program. When people buy gift certificates for local stores or make donations to fundraising campaigns, Desjardins will donate an equivalent amount--up to $25,000--to local organizations. To give the program an extra boost, Desjardins will cover participation fees for local businesses and provide $2,000 for promotional videos about the program.

The École d'entrepreneurship de Beauce, SPB/Skillable and Desjardins coming together for entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs are facing uncharted waters, with many questioning their future or wondering if they need a new business model. The 12-week learning path S'équiper pour rebondir (Preparing your business to bounce back), will show participants how to turn the economic shutdown into an opportunity to develop personal and organizational skills to take on the challenges they're facing during COVID-19. Participants can register online for $450 at www.eebeauce.lpages.co/parcours-virtuel/ (course and website in French only). Desjardins business members and clients can get $100 off registration fees.

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