Who we are ?
Montréal, Québec, Canada
Phone: +1 514 861-7253
© SAJE 1985-2012 -
In 1985, a number of groups providing support to youth projects were formed. The administrators of these groups facilitating budding entrepreneurs (SAJE's predecessors) knew right away that their work was important and that a new adventure was about to begin.
The path, however, has not been a smooth one.
Over the last 25 plus years, the SAJE model has undergone various transformations and overcome numerous challenges, all the while continuing to provide high-quality services to young entrepreneurs in Quebec.
Generally, SAJE has generated great success on a both a political and economic level, and has changed the way that entrepreneurship is perceived.
Policies with a positive outcome
On a political level, SAJE owes its existence to the much-lauded International Year of Youth. At that time, many proposals were being submitted to help young entrepreneurs start a business. Thanks to the collaboration of numerous financial partners and community catalysts, SAJE launched the Organismes de soutien aux initiatives jeunesse (OSIJ) program, comprising a series of support groups for new entrepreneurs across Quebec.
From the beginning, the SAJE groups have had a clear and precise mission: develop entrepreneurial expertise in order to give potential entrepreneurs the customized advisory services they need.
Over a period of 10 years, OSIJ groups expanded steadily across Quebec. At the height, there were 107groups in all provincial regions; a number that testifies to the importance of this program!
In 1995, ten years after SAJE was founded and its model was successfully validated, a new need emerged: helping businesses survive. At that moment, we decided to merge all OSIJ groups under a new umbrella name: Association des SAJE du Québec (ASAJEQ).
This new association created a sustainability branch to offer young entrepreneurs adapted services related to managing growth. We immediately noticed that the more support young businesses received from SAJE, the greater their survival rate!
In fact, this success was so evident, SAJE decided to merge its groups once more to offer even better services to clients. This merger is what truly led to the organization you know today. Budgets, resources and labour were pooled to create SAJE in 1997.
In 1998, the government of Quebec created Centres locaux de développement (CLD) as a one-stop shop promoting all programs for young entrepreneurs and projects with socio-economic effects.
The CLDs, launched as part of a new policy drafted by the Regional Secretariat to support local and regional development, brought together various organizations offering aid to entrepreneurs, including the OSIJs.
In Montreal, things were different. Due to the critical mass of clients and resources, the mobility of entrepreneurs and the expertise accumulated by SAJE over a long period of time, Montreal was able to keep its existing structures.
A model that works. And the numbers to prove it.
For over 25 years, the SAJE model has contributed to the start-up of 18,542 businesses, which have created almost 40,000 jobs and generated projected investments of more than $800 million.
Mrs. Demers, former Director General and Administrator of the SAJE board of directors, speaks with nostalgia and pride of SAJE’s past: "The SAJE model is unique, and although it has had to overcome great obstacles,
it has always been an extraordinarily creative space. So much growth in these last almost 30 years. SAJE is an organization with depth.”
And what about the next 25 years? The best is yet to come!