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Quebec announces $21.5M for companies to help spur innovation

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The François Legault government says it wants a more efficient society and to that end it's giving more than $20 million to companies to help them innovate and be more productive.

The government is betting technological innovation is the best way to make Quebec more productive.

"At the base, we need to have the research community to contribute to creating innovation that will eventually be commercialized," said Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon.

The new funding is going to 11 groups, from heavy industry to the social economy.

"Different groups are going to be giving different amounts of money, ranging from $1.5 to $2.5 to $3 million … to be able to help the government in those innovative strategies and ways to do things better than we used to do in order to address some of society's greatest challenges," said Christopher Skeete, the associate economy minister.

Among those challenges is decarbonizing Quebec's economy.

"The olution that we are going to build is something that can be much more cost effective than a helicopter for power line and pole inspection," said Maude Pelletier, founder and president of Balko Technologies.

Pelletier's company designs drone-mounted cameras and sensors that can inspect the power grid more efficiently.

There are also investments in the social sector.

David Miljour, the general manager of the Pôle de l'économie sociale de l'agglomération de Longueuil, supports social entrepreneurship in Longueuil. He's been given $1.5 million to help companies tackling everything from waste management to housing and homelessness.

He says investing in research at a local level will ultimately lead to better services for the public.

"It's not looking at the macro 30,000 foot view. It's looking at individual sectors, individual industries, and how they can do it," said Skeete.

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