Montreal’s Entrepreneurial Spirit: Success Stories

Montreal continues to attract talented entrepreneurs from across the globe.

Quite often, Montreal is mentioned in ratings of the best cities in the world to live in. What is so special about Montreal that deserves such high ratings? From a historical point of view, this is still a very young city, but it is certainly one of the most entrepreneurial and forward-looking in Canada. From Shopify and Busbud to Cirque du Soleil, we are going to tell you several astonishing business success stories from Montreal.

Shopify: Disruptive E-Commerce Platform

In early 2006, three Montreal entrepreneurs, Daniel Weinand, Tobias Lütke, and Scott Lake, couldn’t find a convenient e-commerce platform to help them sell their snowboarding stuff. So, they decided to establish their own platform. Initially described as a local three-man business, today Shopify employees are placed all across the globe, and their numbers are over 7,000. The platform provides e-commerce services to small and large customers and offers inventory management, payment processing, and marketing tools. The secret to Shopify’s success lies in the following features:

  • high customization;
  • scalability;
  • user-friendly interface. 

They are also well-known for their active community and partnership building.  

Busbud: Booking Buses Has to Be Easy

In 2011, another three highly entrepreneurial Canadian gentlemen, Frederic Thouin, LP Maurice, and Michael Gradek, founded Busbud – an online platform for planning and managing trips by bus. Again, everything started with frustration – the guys couldn’t plan their travel trip to South Africa using the existing platforms. 

So, the Busbud they created was initially focused on covering the bus tourism gap in that part of the world. However, very quickly, the team has expanded its business model to North America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania. Today, Busbud is the leader in its business niche, largely thanks to:

  • convenience;
  • global coverage;
  • transparency and trust.

All the above is mediated by excellent customer support.  

Cirque du Soleil: Taking Circus to The Next Level

Founded in 1984 by Guy Laliberté and Gilles Ste-Croix, Cirque du Soleil, or the Circus of the Sun from French, was initially a street performance by a few highly creative artists. These founders energetically focused on providing shows and performances combining acrobatics, music, dance, and theater. 

The secret to Cirque du Soleil’s success lies in the following:

  • innovative entertainment products;
  • artistic perfection;
  • excellence at storytelling;
  • strong brand identity.

Such an innovative approach quickly paid off: their business expanded globally and grew into something that even the most vigorous naysayers couldn’t resist admiring. Their shows were so far ahead of the traditional circus performances that they metaphorically reached the height of the sun. 

The Bottom Line

Montreal emerged as a center of the fur trade in the 17th century, and it quickly became a tidbit of competition between French, British, and, of course, American entrepreneurs. Perhaps, that combination of fierce competition, attraction of talents from all over the world, and great geographical location are the root causes of Montreal’s business success in our time. 

Today, the city continues to attract talented and young entrepreneurs from across the globe, rewarding them with opportunities for innovation, collaboration, and growth in diverse industries.