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What is the Accelerated Growth Centre (AGC)?
A key feature of Québec’s Export Strategy 2016-2020, the Accelerated Growth Centre provides customized business development assistance to Québec companies with annual sales of over $25 million and wishing to expand into the U.S. marketplace. Specifically, the AGC offers participating companies a platform connecting them with U.S. based consultants and advisors who can best meet their business development needs. The consultants usually advise the companies for a period ranging from 6 to 18 months.

What role do the Québec Government Offices in the United States play in the Centre’s activities?
Québec offices in the United States are responsible for promoting Québec products and services, providing businesses with support and information on markets and regulations as well as assisting them in forging partnerships. The advisors and consultants working with the AGC complement the market development support offered by staff in Québec offices.

In addition to connecting companies with advisors, what other services does the AGC offer participating companies?
In addition to offering a personalized service matching participating companies with American experts and advisors, the AGC offers them access to free workspaces in Québec Government Offices in New York, Chicago and Boston. As part of this service, businesses will have access to telephones and videoconferencing systems, as well as reception, meeting and networking facilities. Additionally, under certain conditions, businesses may receive financial aid from the AGC covering up to 40% of eligible expenses as part their expansion project in the U.S.

What criteria are used in selecting participating companies?
To be eligible, companies must have annual revenues of at least $25M, a presence in at least two markets outside Québec (including the U.S.), and be able to demonstrate a capacity to scale-up their business in the U.S. Applications from companies are reviewed by the AGC’s Governance Committee based on established selection criteria.

Who sits on the AGC’s Governance Committee?
Presided by Québec’s Delegate General in New York, the AGC’s Governance Committee includes the Québec Delegates in Boston and Chicago, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Economy, Science and Innovation, the Caisse de dépôt et de placement du Québec, Manufacturiers et Exportateurs du Québec, and the QG100.

Who are the advisors and consultants working with the AGC, what is their role, and how are they recruited?
The AGC identifies and recruits expert advisory firms with the help of commercial attachés from Québec offices in the U.S., as well as through recommendations from key American partners. All experts and advisors are subject to a selection process that includes an assessment interview before being retained by the AGC. Participating companies may also choose to work with an expert or advisor they may have identified prior to joining the Center.

How does the matching between businesses and advisors work?
After establishing and determining a company’s specific market development needs, the AGC identifies and proposes a number of experts and advisors before making an initial introduction (by phone or in person). The company then chooses from among the proposed experts, according to the service offer which best responds to its needs.

Do businesses have a say in the selection of the experts and advisors?
The AGC mandate is to identify, target and propose the best available experts and advisors to participating companies, in accordance to their expressed requirements. Participating companies are then free to choose the service providers with whom they wish to work.

Can a business work with more than one advisor?
Insofar as a market expansion or development project may involve many aspects (i.e. marketing, recruitment, acquisition, etc.), it is entirely possible for a business to work with more than one expert or advisor.

How long do advisors and experts offer support to participating companies?
The AGC estimates that a consultation project may last anywhere from 6 to 18 months, depending on the scale of the project and the allocated budget. That being said, nothing prevents a business from continuing its collaboration with an advisor beyond that time frame or the bounds of the AGC project.

Who pays the experts and advisors?
Participating businesses are responsible for bearing the expenses of the expert’s fees with whom they work. Businesses that qualify for financial aid can then claim reimbursement of up to 40% of these expenses, up to a maximum of $100,000.

What is the financial aid offered to participating companies, and how is it granted?
Under certain conditions, businesses may receive financial aid covering up to 40% of eligible expenses related to their U.S. expansion project with the AGC. Eligible expenses include consulting fees, as well as a flat-rate amount for a limited number of business trips to the U.S. This financial aid is intended to help businesses realize their U.S. market expansion project with the AGC. Financial aid is granted using a formula that takes into account a company’s net earnings and liquidity.

Why are Québec advisory firms excluded from participating in the AGC program?
While not excluding Québec firms, the AGC has a policy of working with local American firms which have a proven track-record of doing business in the United States. In addition, local firms often have more developed networks on the ground as well as an in-depth knowledge of the different business ecosystems, allowing them to offer fast-track assistance and support to Québec companies.

What benefits and spinoffs does the AGC expect for participating companies in terms of increased growth?
It is difficult to quantify the projected benefits and spinoffs. However, the AGC estimates that participating companies could experience an annual U.S. market growth of 10% to 20% as part of their market expansion project.

When can I submit my business application to the AGC?
Please refer to the schedule section on the website.

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