The call for projects for the next two cohorts of the Civic Incubator is now launched!

The Maison de l’innovation sociale (MIS) is launching a call for projects to form the next cohorts of its Civic Incubator.


New this year: two cohorts rather than one will be run in succession, with the first beginning in October 2020 and the second beginning in January 2021.

These two cohorts will focus on the theme “from resilience in a pandemic context to social and ecological transition” and will welcome innovative solutions to accelerate the sustainable development of Montréal communities.

Why take part in the Civic Incubator program?

  1. Because the pandemic and the events of recent months have revealed issues in your daily life that you can no longer ignore and for which you have devised a solution.
  2. Because you want to take action and make a positive contribution to the social and ecological transition, while developing your full potential as an agent of change.
  3. Because you want to change course and take advantage of the present moment to launch your project, transform the world and benefit from an enriching coaching process.
  4. Because you have a project or an idea in mind to respond in an innovative way to a need or a problem specific to a living environment or to capitalize on its potential.
  5. Because your project has a compelling socio-environmental impact:
    > inclusion, social mix and the fight against systemic racism;
    > the fight against poverty and inequality;
    > the basic needs of individuals within a community (e.g. housing, food security, health);
    > the fight against climate change and the regeneration of natural ecosystems (fauna, flora, water, air and soil).


The Civic Incubator is the perfect opportunity to go from idea to impact!

Residents, committed collectives, enterprising minds within your organization, NPOs with a new program or service in mind, this is the right time to develop your project with a positive socio-environmental impact for the benefit of the community of the Urban Agglomeration of Montréal, whether in the form of a grassroots movement, a service for collective use, a concept of social entrepreneurship, or other.

Submit your project to be selected as a winner in this free coaching program valued at $15,000.

from resilience
in a pandemic
context to social
and ecological

Answer the call for projects

To join the Winter 2021 cohort (January-June 2021), fill out the following application form

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: Sunday, November 15, 2020, at 11:59 p.m.


The application period for the fall 2020 cohort (October 2020-March 2021) ended on August 30, 2020.

Discover the projects of the Fall 2020 cohort of the Civic Incubator

Do you have questions?

1- What is the Civic Incubator?

The Civic Incubator is a training and coaching program of the MIS designed to strengthen the capabilities of project leaders to implement innovative projects with a high potential for positive social and environmental impact in urban environments.

Selected through a call for projects, the winners, having submitted their project in teams of at least two, engage in a free coaching process at the MIS to develop their project from an early stage of development to a level of maturity such that they can move on to the implementation and financing stage.

Valued at $15,000, the program entails an individual commitment of some seven hours per week for nearly five months, including time for assignments and participation in workshops. The workshops will focus on the mindset conducive to social innovation, understanding the context in which the project will be implemented, as well as the design and implementation of your project with a positive socio-environmental impact.


The MIS is already in its third edition of its Civic Incubator program. To date, the program has contributed to the emergence of multiple projects and initiatives. To review previously incubated projects, visit the pages for the 2019-2020 cohort and the 2018-2019 cohort. Also visit the “News” section of our website to learn more about the experience of several of our Civic Incubator alumni!

2- Why a Civic Incubator?

The people best placed to understand a socio-environmental issue are very often the residents of a given living environment. And it is often these same people who have the best ideas for responding to them and making them their own. The Civic Incubator was developed by the MIS for these same agents of change who do not necessarily recognize themselves as social innovators, but whose ideas deserve to be supported.


Moreover, all too often, citizens’ projects with social or environmental impact fail right from the start. Indeed, several obstacles can arise between an idea and its realization:

  • a lack of knowledge and skills to structure and deploy a credible project that can be supported by different stakeholders (public institutions, donors, investors, support organizations)
  • a lack of access to the resources needed to implement the project.

These difficulties entail several consequences:

  • overwork, discouragement or disengagement of project leaders,
  • projects with high potential that are abandoned,
  • social and environmental problems that persist or worsen.

To date, little support exists to strengthen the knowledge, skills and networks of social innovators. The MIS, through its programs, including the Civic Incubator, is working to fill this gap by generating, uncovering and supporting as many innovations as possible at a level of maturity that will allow them to move into the implementation phase.


Find out more about MIS mission.

3- Who can apply and what are the sub-themes of the cohorts?

Individuals who are citizens, permanent residents or temporary residents of Canada (work, study or other permits); individuals with a visionary and creative spirit who wish to start in pairs a project with a socio-environmental impact (with or without social entrepreneurship intentions), within committed collectives or organizations, may submit their project, as long as it meets the other eligibility criteria.


These projects should be ideally but not necessarily carried out by teams of two in order to maximize learning and project development along the way and to give the teams greater flexibility in the time investment they will be required to make. The project can be carried by a larger group, but this group must delegate two people to take part in the Civic Incubator.




More specifically, to submit a project, each team must:

  • Be composed of one or two project leaders aged 18 and over. (Note that applications with two leaders will be considered favourably for the reasons outlined above)
  • Be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or temporary resident
  • Have support needs in line with the Civic Incubator’s offer
  • Be available to devote approximately 7 hours of work per week throughout the five-month course
  • Be able to understand French both orally and in writing (Theoretical content will be presented in French and most of the interactions between cohort members will be in French. However, interactions with speakers may take place in English if necessary).
  • Have access to a computer with a webcam and an Internet connection

In addition, to be considered eligible, projects must:

  • Be related to the theme of social and ecological transition and the following sub-themes:
      • inclusion, social mix and the fight against systemic racism;
      • the fight against poverty and inequality;
      • the basic needs of individuals within a community (e.g. housing, food security, health);
      • or the fight against climate change and the regeneration of natural ecosystems (fauna, flora, water, air and soil).
  • Target implementation, initially, on a territory of the Urban Agglomeration of Montréal (neighbourhood, municipality or group of municipalities).(quartier, ville, ou ensemble de villes)
  • Address a specific and clearly articulated socio-environmental problem
  • Have the potential for positive and systemic socio-environmental impact
  • Demonstrate a clear potential for technological, operational, legal or financial feasibility
  • Be at the conceptual or seed stage. See the table below for more details.
N.B. As part of the update of the offer made by the Ville de Montréal, BMO, the McConnell Foundation and the Mirella and Lino Saputo Foundations to the projects resulting from the fall 2018 cohort of the Je Fais MTL community, these projects, with equivalent candidacies and still at the seed stage at the time of application, will exceptionally take precedence over the other projects received.
In addition, the MIS encourages people who self-identify with the following groups (without limitations) to submit their project: Aboriginal people; women; visible minorities; ethnic minorities; people living with disabilities.

4- Is it essential for my project to be carried by at least two people in order to apply?

No. However experience has taught us that by working together in the Civic Incubator, participants can more easily deepen their reflections on their project, carry out the work proposed to them, combine their talents and better cover their blind spots, and support each other in case of difficulty or unforeseen absences.


Due to the pandemic context and the MIS’s decision to switch to a 100% online format – a factor that reduces the risk of absenteeism – this criterion has been relaxed. Thus, without being an obligatory criterion for submitting a proposal, applications that include two leaders will be considered favourably.


If you would like to participate in the Civic Incubator, but have not yet found a partner with whom to begin the coaching process, talk about your project to those around you who share your concerns and your desire to change things. Ask them in turn to share your call for contributions. For example, launch a call on your social networks or on the Tangram platform of the MIS and tag the MIS! Then we can spread the word too. In addition, consider approaching someone who is experiencing the problematic situation that is at the heart of your project and explore their interest in joining you. In addition to allowing you to form a pair, these steps will allow you to practise pitching your project and testing your idea!

5- Is it essential for my project to take place on a territory in the Urban Agglomeration of Montréal?

Since the fall 2020 and winter 2021 cohorts are partly financed by the Ville de Montréal, your project must first be implemented in one or more sectors, neighbourhoods or municipalities of the Urban Agglomeration of Montréal. That said, if your project is successful, it can certainly be exported to other regions of Québec, Canada or the world. The MIS values projects that have the potential to change the world!

6- What will I learn?

With the help of theoretical training and practical coaching focused around your project, you will develop your ability to implement innovative projects with a high potential for positive socio-environmental impact in an urban environment.

Le parcours de l'Incubateur civique de la MIS

More specifically, at the end of the module entitled:


“Consolidate”, you will be able to demonstrate a mindset conducive to social innovation. In particular, the module will address the following concepts:

  • Acquire a better knowledge of oneself as an agent of change.
  • Develop a mindset conducive to innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Increase your resilience to better face the obstacles you will encounter during the implementation of your project.

“Understand”, you will be able to analyze the context in which a project is implemented, based on data from field research. In particular, the module will cover the following concepts:

  • Carry out a field research to analyze your problem or issue based on real data.
  • Deepen your understanding of assets and issues, their causes and effects, stakeholder dynamics, influential trends, etc.
  • Identify the best opportunities for intervention to solve the targeted issue.

“Conceive”, you will be able to conceptualize an innovative project with a positive socio-environmental impact using, in particular, data from field research and service design principles. In particular, the module will cover the following concepts:

  • Define a vision of the desired impact of your project.
  • Define one or more strategies to achieve the desired impact.
  • Map out the user path of your project to better understand the barriers to its adoption and opportunities for improvement.
  • Take a critical look at the issues and blind spots that could reduce your project’s chances of success.

“Implement”, you will be able to outline a winning strategy for your project implementation. In particular, the module will cover the following concepts:

  • Map out the main phases of your project’s implementation.
  • Identify the most appropriate legal entities to implement your project.
  • Mobilize an ecosystem of partners in support of your project (public, private, philanthropic, citizen)
  • Define a financial strategy to ensure the implementation of your project and its sustainability.
  • Communicate about your project effectively.

7- In concrete terms, how will the course take place?

The proposed coaching process is spread out over approximately five months.


As part of the fall 2020 and winter 2021 cohorts, the course will comprise a variety of learning activities:

  • 9 online or in-person workshops will allow you to develop your project with the support of specialists and other participating teams.
  • Several online contents (videos, readings, quizzes), available for consultation at all times, to help you discover new concepts and tools and to fuel your reflection.
  • 9 virtual classes of 30 minutes with lecturers from the MIS to deepen the new contents discussed and allow the exchange of knowledge with other teams.
  • 12 remote team mentoring sessions (30 min or 1 hour) with MIS staff to support you in the progress of your project.
  • 1 online session to explore the concept of self-compassion and the option to follow during the program a group coaching to consolidate your resilient leadership mindset with the help of a professional coach

In addition to following the basic program, after a few weeks, you can also access the following optional service upon request:

  • 6 individual coaching sessions (1¾ hour) to help you to know yourself better and develop your resilience.

In the year following the completion of the Civic Incubator, you may also benefit, if required, from additional team mentoring sessions and support in organizing co-development sessions (maximum of 10 hours in total per team).


In addition, and as part of the fall 2020 and winter 2021 cohorts, additional networking efforts will be made by the MIS to foster closer ties between the incubated projects that have progressed and public, private and philanthropic sector players who wish to invest in the implementation of solutions with a positive socio-environmental impact within the Montréal community.


The fall 2020 cohort begins on October 5, 2020, provides a two-week break between December 19, 2020, and January 3, 2021, and ends on March 12, 2021.


The MIS offer a 100% online coaching process for the fall 2020 cohort. Such a format will allow this cohort to progress without disruption along the way in the event that a cohort member or stakeholder, or even the community, is re-confined. The MIS will put in place a range of tools designed to foster an engaging e-learning experience. In addition to moving forward with the initiation of your project despite the pandemic context, the Civic Incubator, in its virtual format, will allow you to familiarize yourself with a few practices that take into account this new reality where a definitive and predominant place is given to telecommuting and digital technology. These are all advantages of such a format to help you move forward with your projects right away!


The 9 workshops of the fall 2020 cohort will take place online on Thursdays or Fridays, generally from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. followed in the afternoon by 30-minute team coaching sessions. These workshops will allow you to develop your project with the support of specialists and other participating teams. The scheduled dates for these workshops are: October 16, 2020; October 30, 2020; November 13, 2020; November 27, 2020; January 15, 2021; January 29, 2021; February 12, 2021; February 26, 2021; March 12, 2021.


The winter 2021 cohort begins on January 25, 2021, and ends on June 18, 2021.


As of September 14, 2020, the MIS is gearing up for a complete online coaching process for the winter 2021 cohort, with the possibility of gradually switching to a hybrid format (a mix of in-person and online workshops) depending on the evolution of the pandemic and the required conditions for all participants to take part in the program.


The 9 workshops of the winter 2021 cohort will take place online on Wednesdays or Thursdays , generally from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. followed in the afternoon by 30-minute team coaching sessions. These workshops will allow you to develop your project with the support of specialists and other participating teams. The scheduled dates for these workshops are: February 4, 2021; February 18, 2021; March 3, 2021; March 18, 2021; April 22, 2021; May 6, 2021; May 20, 2021; June 3, 2021; June 17, 2021.

8- Where will the workshops take place? And what tools will I need in the case of a 100% virtual course?

For a course with a 100% virtual format (should the winter 2021 cohort switch to this format depending on the evolution of the pandemic and the required conditions for all participants to take part in the program):


All activities are planned online. They will therefore take place from the location you choose! We recommend that you select a quiet and distraction-free setting to attend the various online activities.


What tools or equipment do I need?


To take full advantage of the 100% online course and ensure an optimal user experience for all members of the cohort, it is strongly recommended that you have the following equipment at your disposal for each of the online sessions:

  • A computer with a Webcam
  • A microphone and speakers built into the computer or headsets
  • Internet access with a recommended bandwidth of 1.5 Mb/s allowing participation in group workshops via videoconferencing

All along the way, the MIS will accompany you in the mastering of the online tools and in the resolution of any technical problems that may arise.


If your project is selected, but you do not have access to the equipment mentioned above, the MIS team will explore different solutions to help you.


For a hybrid format course (if the format of the winter 2021 cohort switches to this scenario depending on the evolution of the pandemic):


The rooms where the in-person workshops will be held will be located in Montréal, in venues that may be subject to change and whose exact location will be confirmed at a later date. Efforts will be made to ensure that the selected venues are located close to public transit lines and adapted to the needs of persons with reduced mobility.

9- How much will the Civic Incubator cost me?

The MIS Civic Incubator is a program offered free of charge. The value of the support offered by the MIS and its partners is approximately $15,000 per project. This amount is offered graciously by the financial partners of the next cohorts of the Civic Incubator, namely the Ville de Montréal, BMO, the McConnell Foundation and the Mirella and Lino Saputo Foundation.


That said, the Civic Incubator is an intensive course lasting about five months. Participation involves spending about seven hours a week. This estimate includes the time spent on educational activities and homework.


The MIS is mindful of the fact that the pandemic context may have an impact on the financial capacity of some cohort members to take part in this support program, even though it is free of charge. With the objective of reducing the barriers to participation and allowing all winners to take full advantage of the program to benefit their project, the MIS is offering a $750 participation grant to those who make a written request once they have started the program.


In addition, the MIS is continually involved in prospecting and developing partnership agreements to support the development of projects incubated within its program. An initial partnership has been confirmed for the fall 2020 and winter 2021 cohorts with LOJIQ, Les Offices jeunesse internationaux du Québec. LOJIQ will offer a lump-sum participation allowance of $1,000 to the winners of the two cohorts who meet the criteria of their program (including age, residence, and attendance). Details will be sent to the winners of the cohorts that meet the LOJIQ’s requirements at the beginning of the Civic Incubator’s coaching program. The MIS would like to thank LOJIQ for this decisive financial boost to support the winners of the Civic Incubator in their quest for positive impact!

It should also be noted that this financial assistance is in addition to the participation grant offered by the MIS to the winners who have applied for it.


logo de LOJIQ qui soutient les lauréats et lauréates de l'Incubateur civique de la MIS

N.B. Please note that all intellectual production generated by participants in the Civic Incubator remains their property and not that of the MIS.

10- What will the MIS expect from me?

If your two-person team is selected, an agreement to detail the terms of engagement will be signed with you before the start of the course. In particular, the MIS expects the teams selected to:

  • Participate in all the activities of the process.
  • Share their point of view constructively to improve the process.
  • Participate in the communication activities of the Civic Incubator and authorize the publication of their name and/or image in the framework of the MIS communication actions for promotional purposes and to give visibility to the incubated projects.
  • Help each other and maintain a safe and respectful exchange environment, free from exclusionary, oppressive or discriminatory behaviour (e.g. sexist, racist, etc.).

11- How does the MIS manage absences of workshop participants?

By registering with the Civic Incubator, you commit to participating in all the activities of the process. Since each activity has been planned to form a coherent whole, we believe that your attendance will help your project to develop well.


During the course, in the event that an unforeseen or exceptional situation prevents you from participating as expected in the planned activities, the MIS will show understanding and will try to accommodate you as much as possible. However, such accommodations will not always be possible. It will then be your responsibility to make additional efforts to catch up with the rest of the cohort.


If you do not think you will be able to take part in several of the proposed activities or devote about 7 hours of work to the Civic Incubator each week, please do not apply, in order to make room for another team that could benefit from the course and its free admission.


Furthermore, if a participant systematically misses activities or arrives with a lack of preparation and these behaviours continue despite warnings, the MIS reserves the right to exclude the individual from further participation.

12- Will the MIS be able to finance my project once the process is completed?

The MIS is not a funding agency and therefore will not be able to provide financing for your project once it has been completed. However, depending on the context and the implementation strategy chosen, the MIS will make efforts to put you in contact with organizations with whom you can explore options for financing your project.


Indeed, several projects incubated in the past have been able to take advantage of funding opportunities at the end of the course due to the networking efforts deployed by the MIS.


In addition, and as part of the fall 2020 and winter 2021 cohorts, additional networking efforts will be made by the MIS to foster closer ties between the incubated projects that have progressed and public, private and philanthropic sector players who wish to invest in the deployment of solutions with a positive socio-environmental impact within the Montréal community.

13- What is the selection process for applications?

The selection process is a 4-step process.


Step 1: Submit your project using the online form. Allow 30 to 45 minutes to complete the form.
Note that you can save your form and come back to it later to complete it before the submission deadline.
N.B. only one form per project

> Winter 2021 cohort: Submit your project no later than 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, November 15, 2020, using the online form. GO TO THE FORM
> Fall 2020 cohort: The form closed on August 30, 2020.


Step 2: If your project meets the eligibility criteria (see question and answer 3 above) and is selected in the first phase of selection, your team will be called for a remote interview. The interview will last approximately 30 minutes. The purpose of the interview is to ascertain the extent to which the team:

  • is motivated to become involved in the Civic Incubator
  • is determined to see the project come true
  • has outlined strategies to combine their participation in the Civic Incubator with professional or personal activities
  • has identified strategies to adapt when needed (withdrawing, conflict, etc.).
  • demonstrates ability to learn autonomously and to be coached
  • is able to justify its eligibility, should clarification be required

> Fall 2020 cohort: The interviews took place between September 8 and 15, 2020.
> Winter 2021 cohort: The interviews will take place between November 23 and December 1, 2020.


Step 3: If your project is selected in this second selection phase, your project will be recommended to the selection jury who will analyze the submissions. This jury will be composed of a diversity of representatives from the public, private, community and philanthropic sectors. Its mandate will be to assess the extent to which the project:

  • has a high potential for positive socio-environmental impact and, where possible, potential for systemic impact
  • is innovative, i.e. proposes a non-existent solution or an improvement to an existing solution
  • is technologically, operationally, legally and financially feasible.

It will also assess the extent to which the teams have training AND/OR personal experience AND/OR professional experience relevant to their project.

> Fall 2020 cohort: Submissions were analyzed by the jury between September 16 and 22, 2020.

The members of the jury for the fall 2020 cohort are:

  • Ericka Alnéus, Philanthropic Development Advisor, Pour 3 Points
  • Stéphane Guidoin, Director, Laboratoire d’innovation urbaine de Montréal
  • Anahi Morales Hudon, Assistant Professor, Elisabeth Bruyère School of Social Innovation (Saint Paul Universities)
  • Philippe Meilleur, Executive Director, Native Montréal
  • François Morin, Director General, Operations and Public Affairs, Quebec and the Maritimes, BMO Financial Group
  • Dr. Claudel Pétrin-Desrosiers, President, Association québécoise des médecins pour l’environnement (AQME/CAPE)
  • Claude Pinard, Executive Director, Fondation Mirella et Lino Saputo

> Winter 2021 cohort: Submissions will be analyzed by the jury between December 2 and 8, 2020. Jury members will be announced in the fall.


Step 4: Public announcement of the winning teams that will have been selected to join the Civic Incubator.

> Fall 2020 cohort: A Public announcement took place on September 28, 2020.
> Winter 2021 cohort: A Public announcement will take place mid-December 2020.

14- How can I learn more about the Civic Incubator and interact with the MIS?

Register for any of the online information sessions that will be held over the next few weeks.


Please hurry, places are limited to 10 people per session – Subscribe here!

  • Information session: Wednesday, September 23, 12:00-1:00 p.m.
  • Information Session: Tuesday, October 13, 12:00-1:00 p.m.
  • Information Session: Thursday, October 22, 12:00-1:00 p.m.


A support clinic to help you fill out your application form is also offered in the last week of the call for projects. The support clinic consists of 5 personalized 25-minute sessions offered on Tuesday morning, November 10. Book your session here.


To stay informed, we invite you to frequently consult the Civic Incubator Call for Projects web page on the MIS website or to subscribe to the MIS Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn pages.


Do you have more questions about the program? Need help filling out your application form?

Contact or 514-871-9941 #616, Monday to Friday, between 9 am and 5 pm.

The MIS would like to thank:

Its financial backers for their unfailing support in the deployment of its mission.

It also thanks them for their additional financial support for the fall 2020 and winter 2021 cohorts of the Civic Incubator. The MIS also thanks the Ville de Montréal and BMO for their financial support for these same Civic Incubator cohorts.