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Archive for category: News

On the Lookout for Legionella

A device, BioAlert, capable of quickly and automatically detecting the presence of legionella, the bacteria responsible for legionellosis, a potentially fatal infection, in cooling towers. INNOVATION A device, BioAlert, capable of quickly and automatically detecting the presence of legionella, the bacteria responsible for legionellosis, a potentially fatal infection, in cooling towers. WHO? Étienne Lemieux founded the company SPI Bio in 2014, upon completion of his doctoral studies in cell biology, with his roommate Dominic Carrier, who holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering. Based in Sherbrooke, the company employs a dozen people. “There was no screening method, other than sending a sample to the lab and getting a result two weeks later. In the meantime, there are people who are exposed. ” -Étienne Lemieux, co-founder of SPI Bio THE PRODUCT In 2012, an outbreak of legionellosis in the Quebec City area affected 181 people, killing 13. This led to the adoption by the provincial government in 2014 of new regulations on water cooling towers in buildings, where the bacteria can accumulate and be released into the ambient air. SPI saw this as a market opportunity. The device attaches to the cooling towers and automatically analyzes the presence of legionella once a day to ensure that it remains below acceptable levels. Usually only a chemical, such as chlorine, needs to be added to correct the situation when the bacteria are too present. The machine is available for sale or rental. The cost to purchase is in the tens of thousands of dollars. According to the Régie du bâtiment, the 2,500 or so water cooling towers installed in Quebec have exceeded risk levels about 1,500 times this year. IN THE FUTURE SPI Bio’s product is installed at the Université de Sherbrooke and at a private company in the Eastern Townships. The company is in discussions with some 15 other companies in Quebec. It would like to attack the U.S. market in about a year’s time. “There are more cooling towers per inhabitant there, and legal recourse is getting out of hand. We’re talking about settlements of about $12 million per recently infected person. In New York City, the fines are $15,000 U.S. if they are exceeded. ” Article found in: https://www.lapresse.ca/affaires/portfolio/pme-innovation/201812/13/01-5207890-a-laffut-de-la-legionelle.php

Multidisciplinary and at MBA, the Ecotech Challenge is constantly reinventing itself!

For the first time last September, the student competition took the form of a case study as part of the joint “Technological Innovation and Commercialization” microprogram between the MBAs of HEC Montréal and Polytechnique Montréal. Thanks to a partnership between these universities, Sherbrooke Innopole and Écotech Québec, 15 students advised SPI Bio, a Sherbrooke clean technology company, on its commercialization strategy.

How do I convince my client that my solution is profitable? What are the sources of financing adapted to my offer? What market should I target? According to the Panorama of Cleantech in Quebec, EY, 2018, the most important obstacles facing cleantech companies are financing and market access. It is in this context that Écotech Québec created the Ecotech Challenge 5 years ago, whose objective is to allow a company to find answers to these real questions by inviting students to suggest possible solutions.

Myriam Bélisle, Director, Business Services – Clean Technologies of Sherbrooke Innopole and member of the Skills and Talents site of Écotech Québec, was able to identify a course that is perfectly adapted to the Challenge: the microprogram “Technological Innovation and Commercialization”, which involves some fifteen engineering, scientific and management students, led by Ms. Isabelle Deschamps, Associate Professor. The Ecotech Challenge then becomes a course project that Ms. Deschamps will define as a “fantastic learning opportunity for [the] students, and an opportunity to innovate in our teaching methods”.

Étienne Lemieux, president and co-founder of SPI Bio, which develops and markets control solutions to minimize the risks and costs associated with legionella contamination, was impressed by the quality of the presentations. “I think we’re going to have some interesting discussions on the implementation of some of the proposed strategies. “Thank you again for the effort you put into the work. You have a very fine cohort, brilliant people who will make the program proud, I am convinced,” expressed Mr. Lemieux and Ms. Bélisle.

Article found in: https://ecotechquebec.com/ecominute/article/2018/11/multidisciplinaire-et-au-mba-le-defi-ecotech-ne-cesse-de-se-reinventer/?fbclid=IwAR28yqIpQhRGjn3XdIgcyKOo9xCx-KU8cYCsHFoNBhqZKmbf4XvPPx-JbMY

International expansion: Advice from three Sherbrooke entrepreneurs

In order to grow, many companies develop an international strategy. Three entrepreneurs taking aim at international markets share their experience.
“In Canada, I can potentially reach 10,000 customers. In the U.S., you’re talking more than 100,000, and in Europe it’s 350,000. So for us, in order to grow from a small business to a big company, we’re definitely going international.” -Étienne Lemieux, SPI Bio But this idea might seem easier to say than do. When should you start? Why target other markets? How do you manage distribution? How do you adapt? This conversation brings together a lot of answers and some advice to future entrepreneurs from Dragan Tutic (Oneka Technologies), André Gauthier (Agendrix) and Étienne Lemieux (SPI Bio). According to Tutic, an international goal is important, but so is testing your product locally and learning from that experience. Furthermore, for companies in the cloud computing domain or in the digital space more generally, such as Gauthier’s company, Agendrix, international expansion is easier when you don’t have to deal with finding capital for equipment or other costs generated by selling goods and services. But adaptation will still be necessary in order to adjust to new languages and the realities of new markets. This episode of Objective: Growth was created in collaboration with ACET. Article found in: https://devenirentrepreneur.com/en/videos/objective-growth/international-expansion

48 hours to drive growth

On October 1, 2 and 3 2018, Espace CDPQ, an investment and development hub, will welcome 14 technology companies to a personalized 48-hour boot camp as part if its “Hub” initiative:

  • Affordance Studio
  • Agendrix
  • Alfred Sommelier
  • BioIntelligence Technologies
  • Boréas Technologies
  • Brizo Data
  • Devoray
  • Emma
  • Immune Biosolution
  • Ingeniarts
  • RaySecur
  • Statsradio
  • Spibio
  • UEat

The selected companies all participated in an incubation or acceleration program by CAMP, DigiHub or ACET, Espace CDPQ’s three regional hubs. The 14 companies were selected based on the quality of their entrepreneurial team, the innovative nature of their product/service and their market potential in targeted international markets.

Bringing together seasoned entrepreneurs, experts on various issues related to managing a company (commercialization, managing growth, financing, etc.), as well as internationally renowned investors, 48 Hours at Espace CDPQ is an opportunity for 14 business leaders to explore new perspectives and discuss various solutions to their growth challenges.

48 Hours at Espace CDPQ offers direct introductions to key players and an opportunity for entrepreneurs to present their company to 12 influential venture capital firms.

48 Hours at Espace CDPQ has been organized with its 17 partners, including 12 venture capital firms (Amplitude, Anges Québec, Brightspark Ventures, Clearspring, CDPQ’s Venture Capital and Technology team, Inovia Capital, Luge Capital, OTEAF, Panache Ventures, Real Ventures, White Star Capital and XPND Capital) and 6 organizations dedicated to growth and development (École d’Entrepreneurship de Beauce, Intrapreneurial Initiative, Réseau Capital, QG100, Montreal FinTech Station and Univalor).

About the “Hub” initiative

Last March, Espace CDPQ name three accelerators in Québec (LE CAMP, DigiHub and ACET) as official Espace CDPQ “Hubs.” The “Hub” initiative gives entrepreneurs from across Québec access to Espace CDPQ’s investment and development network.

Article found in: https://espacecdpq.com/en/news/news/48-hours-drive-growth?fbclid=IwAR1IlihVbi2dhtxaX6O0LU6JNx1w3fk__Kwoi3VWFw_mUDJN7iEJccdluVs

Legionella at De La Montée School in Sherbrooke : Summer Warmth at the top of the suspect list

Increasingly hot summers such as the one experienced in recent weeks in Quebec are no stranger to the proliferation of Legionella bacteria in cooling towers, as is the case at the Le Ber pavilion of the École de la Montée in Sherbrooke, according to a specialist.

With the continuously hot and humid temperatures, the water in the towers is kept warm, which encourages the growth of bacteria, explains biologist Étienne Lemieux, President and CEO of SPI Bio, whose company specializes in bacterial prevention.

Legionella is the bacterium responsible for legionnaire’s disease, which is similar to pneumonia. The air-conditioning system in Le Ber Pavilion was shut down Tuesday because of the presence of the bacteria, more than a week after a monthly test was conducted to detect its presence.

The delay is inherent to the technique. The technique takes time for the bacteria to grow and be detected,” says Lemieux.

His company is marketing a device that detects the presence of the bacteria in “real time”.

As soon as we reach a small level, below the risk level, we can act preventively to avoid reaching thresholds with health risks,” summarizes Étienne Lemieux.

The bacterium is present everywhere in nature, in rivers, soils and lakes. It cannot be eliminated from the environment. On the other hand, its growth must be limited and cooling towers are incredible growth sites for this bacterium in addition to being fans. So they spray aerosols into the air that may or may not contain the bacteria,” he says.

Article found in: https://ici.radio-canada.ca/premiere/emissions/Ecoutez-l-estrie/segments/entrevue/87067/legionellose-sante-ecole-secondaire-leber-sherbrooke-estrie?fbclid=IwAR1RdyVDZ7CfM4dXEM56pbUkahzKgE8pW6bI0x1c6vCW3QeNw_0iPoDCUso