Co-founders of Fibrenoire invest more than $2 million to support technology entrepreneurs at Polytechnique

October 28, 2016

Montreal, October 28, 2016 – Benjamin Desmarais, Rémi Fournier and Jean-François Lévesque, graduates of Polytechnique and the three founding partners of Fibrenoire, today announced a donation of more than $2 million to the Fondation de Polytechnique as part of the major Campus Montréal campaign. The donation will go towards supporting Polytechnique students who wish, as the co-founders did, to start their own technology company.

“We were fortunate enough to receive great support for our business project. We now want to express our appreciation to Polytechnique Montréal, assist other students and young graduates to found companies that will help Quebec grow, and set an example in the business community on the importance of supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs,” said Benjamin Desmarais, President of Fibrenoire.

The donation by Fibrenoire’s young founders is expected to double entrepreneurial activity at Polytechnique within two years. The donation itself has two components. The first is an investment fund of $1 million created by the founders of Fibrenoire to support start-ups by Polytechnique students and projects that fit the Technopreneur profile. The “profil Technopreneur” is an initiative of the Centre d’entrepreneuriat Poly-UdeM. Its aim is to support student entrepreneurs in advancing a business project based on technologies developed in the laboratories at Polytechnique and Université de Montréal.

Added to this fund is an irrevocable bequest by the three partners of more than $1 million to the Fondation de Polytechnique to create scholarships for students interested in entrepreneurship.

The donation was announced during a speech to the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal by Christophe Guy, CEO of Polytechnique Montréal. “More than one third of young Quebecers find the prospect of becoming entrepreneurs appealing, and this trend seems to be growing year over year. Polytechnique Montréal is on the leading edge of this promising transformation; in fact, for 20 years, we have been developing tools to enhance our research and encourage our students to start their own companies. This generous gesture by the partners at Fibrenoire sends a strong message of inspiration and ambition,” said Dr. Guy.

The donation by the Fibrenoire founders underscores the strength of Polytechnique in technological entrepreneurship, a mission that is part of the institution’s history. More than 20 years ago, Polytechnique took the pioneering step of becoming the first Quebec university to establish a development corporation, Polyvalor, to bring scientific discoveries and technological innovations to the market that were developed through the university’s research efforts. Along with the activities carried out at the Centre d’entrepreneuriat Poly-UdeM, these initiatives are at the heart of the strategy “Le génie d’entreprendre” and demonstrate the catalyzing effect that Polytechnique has on stimulating technological entrepreneurship.

About Fibrenoire

Founded in 2007, Fibrenoire is a telecommunications firm specializing in fibre optic connectivity services for businesses. The company continues to expand its more than 4,500-km fibre optic network in the Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Quebec City metropolitan areas. Its computer engineering expertise enables it to meet the specific needs of more than 1,300 clients across all industries. Since early 2016, Fibrenoire has pursued its growth as part of the Videotron family.

About Polytechnique Montréal

Founded in 1873, Polytechnique Montréal is one of Canada’s leading engineering teaching and research institutions. It is the largest engineering university in Quebec based on the size of its student body and the scope of its research activities. With more than 45,750 graduates, Polytechnique Montréal has educated nearly one quarter of the current members of the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec. The institution offers over 120 programs, has 250 professors and more than 8,200 students. Its annual operating budget exceeds $210 million and includes a research budget of over $70 million.

About the Centre d’entrepreneuriat Poly-UdeM

In operation since 1998, the Centre d’entrepreneuriat Poly-UdeM is the Université de Montréal’s gateway to scientific and technological entrepreneurship. It aims to foster an entrepreneurial culture of innovation at UdeM and Polytechnique Montréal and to provide tangible support to entrepreneurs creating scientific and technology businesses. Its community of entrepreneurs brings together hundreds of students, graduates, professors, researchers and employees. Over the years, it has distributed $1.4 million in awards and scholarships and has helped initiate more than 200 projects.

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Media kit and videos about the entrepreneurs: http://bit.ly/DonFibrenoire

Interviews and information

Annie Touchette
Senior Communications Advisor
Polytechnique Montréal
514 231-8133
annie.touchette@polymtl.ca

Andrée Peltier
514 846-0003
514 944-8689
apeltier@videotron.ca

The speech by Christophe Guy to the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is available online.

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