FEL - Future Economy Lab
The Future Economy Lab (FEL) is a research laboratory that aims to develop new approaches in the financing and development of innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems.
Why is there a need for alternative financial mechanisms?
While the Covid-19 pandemic continues to have a major impact on the global economy, we are already preparing to manage the post-Covid era. We are entering a necessary period of reconstruction and it is important to seize this opportunity to adapt our systems for a more resilient future, placing the acceleration of the socio-ecological transition at the heart of recovery plans.
In order to be included in this restructuring, organizations working in the climate business sector need support, as they are currently facing several challenges:
- Because they are often in the startup phase, they have difficulty attracting investors who consider them too risky;
- Because they don’t follow the trajectories expected from other sectors of activity, they present a different business model that favours just as much a return on investment but in social and environmental terms. They therefore require alternative sources of financing that offer more flexibility;
- Their access to funding is even more difficult when these organizations are run by visible minorities, people from Aboriginal communities and women, further deepening social inequalities.
« Faced with the urgent need to act to curb the climate crisis and engage Québec in a fair socio-ecological transition, we need to move away from the traditional investment logic that targets startups and more mature organizations. We also need to develop more inclusive funding mechanisms for seed stage projects.»
Patrick Dubé, Executive Director of MIS
It is in Montréal that the first version of the laboratory was set up in order to support the climate economy in Québec. Québec’s civil society enjoys a strong public consensus in favour of action against climate change. Although there is an active network within Québec’s climate economy, it is still in its infancy. There is a need to catalyze and propel the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators in the climate movement.
The structure of the Future Economy Lab
But how do we adapt the complex landscape of financing—which requires a solid understanding of resources, entrepreneurial activity, investor culture and the province’s political priorities—for Québec’s climate entrepreneurs and investors? This research was at the heart of the first iteration of the Future Economy Lab.
As a result of its collaborative research, interviews and conceptual workshops, the laboratory has come up with a proposal to create a new fund, focused on supporting seed stage projects, which is inclusive in its governance and has a mechanism for ecosystem development.
« The laboratory’s approach revealed that the development of an ecosystem must be at the heart of the new economic model to be built. Rather than simply incubating and accelerating individual companies in which the fund would invest, we want to support the growth and even diversification of the entire ecosystem to create and propel an inclusive and resilient climate economy in Québec. »
Patrick Dubé, Executive Director of MIS
The interaction between the fund and the ecosystem development programme will therefore make it possible to increase the capital reserved for initiatives in the startup phase and to derisk them in order to multiply their number and thus propel this new climate economy.
The innovative nature of this model does not lie so much in the composition of the fund as it does in its inclusiveness, in its strong support for innovative startup projects, and in the enhancement of the return on investment in terms of social and environmental impact.
In taking up the challenge of engaging various local stakeholders, including institutional investors, investment managers, governments and entrepreneurial support organizations, the FEL has thus set itself three main objectives:
- Accelerate the emergence of a resilient climate economy in Québec around an inclusive and collaborative entrepreneurial ecosystem;
- Design and implement, within the framework of climate economics, a sustainable financing mechanism that can maintain the capacity of this ecosystem to innovate over time;
- Create a global learning community to foster reflection on how to sustainably finance the development of new inclusive and resilient economies.
After having contributed its expertise in social R&D in the strategic co-animation of this first iteration of the laboratory, the MIS will now contribute its expertise in the construction of the ecosystem. Would you like to participate? Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org