The Espace-inc supra-regional accelerator model, recognized today for its innovative practices and its impact on the entrepreneurs it supports across Quebec, was born in 2015 from an economic development initiative of the City of Sherbrooke and a private NPO, the Comité de promotion industriel de Sherbrooke (Sherbrooke industrial promotion committee).

Driven by her vision and leadership, Chloé Legris tapped into her vast business network to put together a first team of seasoned coaches. Alain-Olivier Desbois then joined the adventure as Co-Founder and first Lead Coach, motivated by the idea of giving back and helping entrepreneurs in his home region. To round out this small startup team, Jean Bibeau, a PhD holder in entrepreneurship from Université de Sherbrooke —but more importantly a visionary entrepreneur with scars and experience of his own—became a close contributor and continues to be a valuable advisor to this day.

Together, this trio designed and implemented a model inspired by Lean Startup methodology with a few entrepreneurs who were ready to bring a first MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to market. Their combined networks and knowledge of entrepreneurs, innovation and financing provided solid footing by which to design and test a unique model of entrepreneurial support.


Over the years



  • Major player in the new Plan Québécois en entrepreneuriat 2022-2025.
  • First strategic meeting, in the presence of several key players from different regions to reflect collectively on the supraregional collaborative model proposed by Espace-inc.
  • Marie-Hélène Labrie, Senior Vice-President and Head of Public Affairs, Communications and Strategy at Cogeco, joins our Board of Directors.
  • Hiring of a new General Manager – Chloé takes over as President.
  • Growth plan – 6 new resources hired to deploy our model. Team grows from 6 to 12!
  • 6.5 M$ MEIE funding to deploy our supra-regional model.
  • Beginning of collaborations with Bas-Saint-Laurent, Lanaudière, Outaouais and Laurentides.


  • Partnership with Halo from IDETR (Innovation and Economic Development Trois-Rivières).
  • First joint cohort for Trois-Rivières and Centre-du-Québec.
  • Submission of the thesis entitled Territoires entreprenants et innovants as part of the call for dissertations from the ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation (SQRI 2022).
  • Moving to our new headquarters.


  • Partnership with the Espace régional d’accélération et de croissance du Centre-du-Québec (ERAC-CQ).
  • One of the 5 projects recognized in Quebec via federal funding in the amount of $1.5 million from Canada Economic Development for the Territoires entreprenants project.
  • Launch of the first AXE10 cohort with Développement économique Longueuil (DEL).
  • Espace-inc celebrates its 5th anniversary, even if Covid prevents us from celebrating this milestone together with our community!


  • Coup de cœur de Startup-Qc (MEI) award!
  • Creation of the consortium Territoires entreprenants: Espace-inc, Esplanade and Développement économique Longueuil join forces to formalize their collaboration.


  • Third and last edition of Katalysis, a resounding success that attracts 345 attendees, including speakers and entrepreneurs from across Quebec.
  • Pivot to a supra-regional model – start of collaboration with other regions of Quebec and support from Startup Québec to help implement the model.
  • Demo Day with our first 7 private partners: RCGT, Motrec, Therrien Couture, Filspec, BDC, Filaction and Logiflex.


  • The second edition of Katalysis welcomes 230 participants from all over Quebec.
  • We celebrate our 2nd anniversary in the presence of Phil Telio and his team from Startupfest! 200 members of our community celebrate with us!


  • Creation of the Mouvement des accélérateurs d’innovation du Québec (MAIN) together with six other Quebec accelerators.
  • Creation of the Katalysis event, which welcomes 250 attendees from across Quebec for his first edition.


  • Signing of an agreement with Desjardins Capital for a dedicated $5 million fund to invest in companies supported by Espace-inc. The first financing is awarded to Innomalt.
  • Official launch of Espace-inc // support of the first entrepreneurs, Marie Fortier (, Raphael Sansregret (Innomalt), Milos Skgra (Mobilus), Jean-René Bélanger (Imeka), Charles Beaupré (Alice POS), Sabine and Jean-Luc Lenévanneau (GeeBee).


  • Creation of the NPO, with Josée Fortin, Gilles Blais and Sébastien Richer being the first directors.