InnoCité MTL (Montréal - Canada)

Case Study

InnoCité MTL (Montréal - Canada)

InnoCité MTL is the first business accelerator created especially for entrepreneurs who want to collaborate on smart city development, with the aim of implementing solutions for urban issues and challenges. Launched in 2015, the initiative is part of the City of Montréal’s smart and digital action plan for 2015-2017.

This start-up accelerator selects businesses to participate in the program if they observe the following criteria:

- Having at least 2 co-founders (individual entrepreneurs are not accepted);

- At least one team member has expertise in the business field of activity;

- Working full-time in the business is mandatory;

- Availability during the 12-week program in Montréal is necessary;

- The company must have smart city activities related to Montréal’s Action Plan 2015-2017;

- The business plan has to be strong with potential for growth;

Once the project is accepted, InnoCité MTL will pay $50,000 for the acceleration phase and additional accompaniment for projects that reach the prototyping stage. The selected entrepreneurs will benefit from a series of services to develop their projects.


Case study city(ies)
Case study country(ies)
Agencie(s) involved in the case

Improved e-Governance and citizen services;

Improved supports for business.


Description of the specific objectives:

- Support start-up companies, corporate or institutional entrepreneurship projects related to the scope of smart city development;

- Make Montréal a leader in innovation in the field of smart cities;

- Accelerate the economic development and growth of the City of Montréal;

- Provide citizens with innovative municipal services that address their needs.


City of Montréal; Government of Quebec; InnoCité MTL – Business Accelerator.


Every new call for applications requires a new search for funding.

Solutions deployed

Start-up accelerator; website of the InnoCité MTL project.

Smart Solution(s) deployed by the case

For start-ups to enter the program they have to go through 3 phases:

- Step 1 – Selection: each year InnoCité MTL opens applications for 2 cohorts, with a maximum of 8 projects in each cohort. Start-ups have to respond to the call for applications and wait for the decision of the selection committee;

- Step 2 – Acceleration: the selected start-ups enter a 12-week acceleration program that focuses on product market fit and includes: training and practical workshops; a diverse range of mentors, such as entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and municipal representatives; individual coaching throughout the program; the possibility to test the start-up’s product with the City of Montréal or other InnoCité MTL partners. The acceleration is divided into three phases: 1 – define value proposition (weeks 1 to 4); 2 – achieve and demonstrate scalability of the product or business (weeks 5 to 8); 3 – define go-to-market strategy (weeks 9 to 12);

- Step 3 – Test: this phase is dedicated to a personalized coaching process for start-ups that run a pilot project with the City of Montréal or another partner of InnoCité MTL.

Results and Impacts

InnoCité MTL 2015-2017 in a few figures:

- More than 60 mentors;

- 3 financial partners: Telus, Desjardins and Yellow Pages;

- 20 employees and investors;

- 3 cohorts of participants;

- 14 start-ups;

- 12-week companion program and networking activities;

- 116 jobs created within start-ups by the end of 2017;

- More than 80 agreements established by participating start-ups: 37 in the private sector, 21 in the public sector, 22 in municipalities.


Current state of ongoing projects:

- Discovery phase (Diagnostics & Design): 13 projects;

- Development phase (Start-up & Experimentation): 44 projects;

- Test phase (Test & Final corrections): 15 projects;

- Deployment phase (Public launch & Ongoing improvements): 140 projects.