The Cabinet Créatif: A springboard for international growth

Last updated August 19, 2021
Reading time: 2 min

For Montréal companies that would like to export their expertise overseas, this entrepreneurship program may be the perfect springboard. The Cabinet Créatif helps arts and creative organizations to develop new international markets.

Each year, a group of 20 arts and creative companies and organizations will get personalized guidance with their international market commercialization process. The project, which is being led by the city and Air Canada for Business, will take place over a 12-month period and offers training of a value higher than $15,000. It concludes with an individual international mission.

Since the program began in 2018, the city has invested nearly $400,000 to guide 55 small companies in growing their business internationally.

Win-win for entrepreneurs

There are a number of advantages for companies that participate in the Cabinet Créatif. First of all, customized guidance helps them prepare to market their services in new territory.

Montréal company CREO, a production agency that specializes in creating digital experiences, wanted to be supported in its exportation efforts. “Among other things, this program helped us refine our business model and build our international marketing plan.”

Even though the pandemic kept CREO from carrying out its commercial mission, the company managed to lead a real virtual prospection campaign in Europe, and discussions are underway with a number of key players for upcoming projects. “The Cabinet créatif helped us strengthen our bases and gave us tools to accelerate our growth,” said Caroline Julien, president and founder of CREO.

In addition to personalized training, contacts and company pairing among the diverse businesses in the group were great opportunities for the businesswoman. “It’s fascinating to work with entrepreneurs who are thinking about their business model. It helped us think about our own. We also connected with businesses that we ended up working with afterwards.”

Profitable growth

Since overseas expansion is a risky prospect for small businesses, the Cabinet Créatif helps make it easier by creating a framework for the big leap while minimizing the risks of failure. This has a solidifying ripple effect on Montréal’s economy. “There were already existing programs to support project ideation or business startup. But there weren’t very many initiatives offering guidance for international commercialization of arts and creative products,” said Catherine Lareau, an economic development commissioner for the city.

At the end of the program, companies who successfully sold their products in other countries are helping to raise Montréal’s profile worldwide. “It spurs foreign investments and even tourism, because we are recognized for our expertise internationally and people want to come to Montréal to see what we’re doing here,” said Lareau. The Cabinet Créatif isn’t just an individual program. It’s also a collective process that helps boost local and international creative vitality.

Today, the momentum continues for CREO, which has nearly doubled in size this past year. Julien feels certain that the benefits she has gained from the Cabinet créatif will continue. “It’s like a build up! The best is yet to come.”

Would you like to be part of the next Cabinet Créatif group? Visit