Apply for PIVOT, environmental and food projects- Esplanade Québec
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Join our very first PIVOT cohort

100% dedicated to SMEs and established companies!

With the financial support of

Established companies

4 workshops

Over 30 hours of coaching

6 months

6 months to pivot your business model towards impact

Esplanade Québec, Quebec’s leading accelerator for social and environmental impact entrepreneurs, is launching its first PIVOT cohort to support 10 established for-profit or social economy companies in Quebec that are developing an innovative new product or service with the potential to have a major impact on the company’s business model. It is ideally suited to companies whose planned pivot has the potential to help create systemic change and accelerate the green transition within its sector of activity.


The 10 selected companies will have the opportunity to receive tailored coaching and connect with key partners to become exemplary leaders in their industry, addressing the challenges of the green transition.




You will have access to:

  A comprehensive support program, including workshops, lunch and learn sessions, resources and tools, peer support moments, and personalized guidance from our renowned coaches and experts.

  Access to our privileged partners in the environmental sector for feedback, validating your impact business model, and opening doors to new business opportunities.

  Support from a community of entrepreneurs, committed organization leaders, and stakeholders who are eager to share, mentor, and collaborate.

  Increased visibility through our communication platforms.

Who is it for?


For for-profit and non-profit businesses from all over Quebec (SMEs, NPOs, INC, Coops…) that:


  have clearly defined a food system or environmental issue to which they can address,


  have developed a product or service that addresses a validated need related to the identified issue and are ready to implement a pivot towards a green transition in their business model,


See the FAQ below for full details.

  can demonstrate that their solution is both innovative and will generate a positive environmental impact,

  wish to become a leader in their industry by actively contributing to creating systemic changes in favor of the green transition within their sector.

Target themes


For this cohort concerning the environment and climate change or food systems sectors, we are particularly looking for projects addressing the following issues:

Examples of environmental issues covered:


  • Greenhouse gas reduction
  • Waste management
  • Clean technologies
  • Water and energy
  • Circular economy
  • Sustainable mobility
  • Biodiversity preservation

Examples of food system issues covered:


  • Innovation in production, food supply
  • Urban agriculture
  • Management and reduction of food waste
  • Upcycling

Walk away with…

An innovative, impact-focused business model

A network of privileged contacts

The opportunity to become a role model in your sector

An impact strategy

What our former participants say about our cohorts:

'The collaboration with Esplanade has allowed us to develop a clear impact strategy as we prepare to scale. Thanks to the expertise of the coaches, we were able to refine our approach and use our resources most effectively. Their advice allowed us to adjust our approach and focus on creating long-term impact. We are grateful for the ideas and support provided and recommend their services to any organization looking to make a significant difference.'
Ophélia Sarakinis, co-founder of Vertité, and participant in the 2022 Transformation in Food Systems program
Design sans titre
'What we found fantastic in our support with Esplanade is having a support and mentoring team that is not only highly experienced in business but is also deeply committed to socio-environmental issues. It’s a powerful combination that gives rise to rare expertise in Quebec. For a cleantech, it makes a huge difference! When your mentors believe in you from the first second and appreciate your mission and challenges at their true value, the discussions are richer, and the resulting ideas are more impactful. Time well invested!'
Alexandru Iordan, co-founder of SAF+, and participant in the 2022 Climate Innovation Super Cohort
'The support from Esplanade has been a real turning point for APLANTEX. The expertise of the Cycle Momentum and Esplanade Québec teams allowed us to better understand our market and identify the right target audience. They constructively challenged us on several essential development issues. Not to mention the extremely connected coaches we worked with who put us in touch with all the major clients we were interested in! A major collaboration with one of them actually started following a connection via David Santelli, director of support at Esplanade.'
Patrick Charest, co-founder of APLANTEX, and participant in the 2023 Climate Innovation Super Cohort

Get help with the key issues in your shift towards impact

Understanding the ecosystem

Validation of the new business model

Strategic and financial planning

Action plan

Benefit from the expertise of our experienced coaches

Business coaches will be assigned to you based on your specific needs, model, and sector. Among the coaches working with us:

Strategic planning, Social inclusion


Strategy, Business model, Business development


Expert in food systems, circular economy and mass retailing


Marketing, Growth management


Connect with key Esplanade partners

You will be able to…

  Meet key players in your sector.

  Have the opportunity to be connected, according to your needs and the nature of your project, with potential partners for your business development.

  Benefit from the knowledge of experts in your sector, especially during expertise clinics.

Have the opportunity to initiate a real-world test with a partner establishment or organization.

Detailed information on the cohort

Who is the Pivot cohort for?
Essential selection criteria:

Financial performance: Your company has a turnover in excess of $500,000.

Concrete Innovation: Your product or service offers an innovative, effective and realistic solution to an identified problem in the fields of the environment or food systems.

Technological maturity: If your solution incorporates a technology, it must reach a minimum level of maturity, equivalent to TRL 4 or 5.

  Dedicated team: You have a committed and motivated team actively working on the pivot idea.

  Your company is located anywhere in Quebec (we are actively seeking projects outside Montreal).

Senior management commitment: Your organisation’s senior management is directly involved, with resources (human and financial) allocated specifically to the project.

How do I know if I'm at the right stage of development?

It can be difficult for a young company to know how to describe its stage of development.


As part of the Pivot Programme, we are looking for companies that have reached an advanced stage of maturity and are looking to validate a major innovation in their business model, thereby helping to accelerate the green transition.


To find out more about the programme and assess whether your company meets the eligibility criteria, come along to our information session at noon on 14 December.

What is the Pivot cohort about ?
Personalized support over several months

1.  Intensive final selection bootcamp: Two days where teams actively engage with the Impact Gaps Canvas (a pivotal tool for understanding and validating impact. See a preview of the tool here).

3. 4 workshops on tools developed by our impact entrepreneurship experts, directly applied to your project.

2.  A strategic diagnosis of the state of the company and development opportunities provided by an expert in sustainable strategy.

4. Over 30 hours of coaching, including group sessions, personalised in-depth sessions and individual technical support with coaches specialising in impact, innovation, entrepreneurship and business development. All this support is tailored to your objectives and your sector.

Details of the 4 workshops in the cohort

Workshop 1 – Understanding the ecosystem

Current ecosystem mapping tool: analyse your business environment in detail to identify pivot opportunities, map your current position and identify strategic partners.


Workshop 2 – Validation of the New Model

Testing the value proposition: explore and test your new value proposition with key stakeholders to ensure that it meets the needs of the market as part of your pivot.


Workshop 3 – Strategic and Financial Planning for the Pivot

Develop the financial roadmap for the pivot: articulate your revised business model by integrating a robust financial strategy to steer your business towards the desired impact.


Workshop 4 – Critical Path for the Pivot

Drawing up your action plan: explore the crucial stages of your pivot by defining a critical path. Analyse the priority actions needed to make your transition a success. Draw up a detailed action plan, including critical milestones and deadlines.



To remember: through the workshops and coaching, you will gain a better understanding of how to achieve your business model pivot in the light of your existing one. To do this, we’ll help you carry out a complete review of your current model and determine a specific strategy for aligning the new model with your targeted impact objectives.

Personnalised strategic diagnostic with Jean-Philippe Shoiry


A  committed entrepreneur and sustainable strategy expert with over 10 years’ experience in business strategy, sales and marketing, communications, sustainable development and management, Jean-Philippe Shoiry embodies the fusion of entrepreneurship and sustainable development.

As part of the Pivot cohort, he will be guiding companies through personalised stategic diagnoses and lunch-and-learn sessions, so that they can move effectively towards strategies aligned with the principles of sustainable development.


Following the workshops, your team will be put in touch with a senior business coach. These coaches and experts will offer you hours of personalised coaching, tailored to your objectives and your sector.

Some examples of topics covered during coaching:

  Opportunity & Pivot


Market research


Go-to market strategy 



Strategic planning


Definition of the offer


Marketing strategy and tools





Performance &  Gorvernance

What are the cohort dates?
Call for projects

28 November 2023 to 28 January 2024 23:59

Information session


Week of 29 January 2024

Final selection bootcamp

15 and 16 February 2024

First workshop

March 8

Workshops are held in the mornings, from 9 AM to 12:30 PM, each Friday morning.

The bootcamp will take place in person, in Montreal. Workshops and coaching are approximately 5 hours per week, and take place online, unless otherwise specified. Coaching can be done online or in person.


End of workshops: 26 April 2024

End of coaching: July, 2024

How are projects selected?
Selection process 

The selection process is divided into 3 phases:

1. File pre-selection: Initial screening upon receiving applications. The files will be evaluated based on the criteria mentioned below by the Esplanade Quebec team and, if applicable, our sectoral partners.

3.  Final selection pitch: Following the bootcamp, a half-day pitch will finalize the selection of the cohort’s 10 businesses.

2. Selection bootcamp: Up to 15 projects will then be invited to participate in the bootcamp. Teams will work on the Impact Gaps Canvas, and impact experts will be present to evaluate teams throughout the exercise. Following the bootcamp, up to 10 projects will be selected by a jury to participate in the entire Pivot program.

Evaluation criteria

The applying company must be registered in Quebec. Additionally, three main criteria are considered in the evaluation of applications:

Criteria 1: Identification of Environmental or Social Issue


Companies must:

  • Clearly define an environmental or social issue related to their industry.


  • Possess an in-depth understanding of the identified issue.


  • Compile evidence demonstrating the magnitude of the problem, including general data on the environmental impact or food systems.


  • Validate the existence of the issue with beneficiaries, clients, or stakeholders.

Criteria 2: Solution Maturity and Management Commitment


Companies have:

  • Resources and actions already engaged in implementing a new product or service addressing a validated need related to the identified issue.


  • In-depth understanding of industry actors or those related to their solution, demonstrating complementarity.


  • Pre-validated or validated their new business model, including sourcing, cost structure, etc.


  • Strong involvement of top management in the project, providing resources (human, financial, and material). Their commitment ensures that the pivot aligns with the organization’s overall vision.

Criteria 3: Innovative Nature of the Envisaged Business Model Pivot


Companies can demonstrate:

  • The potential of their solution to change the practices, behaviors, or choices of beneficiaries in favor of the targeted positive environmental impact.


  • The intention to change how resource flows circulate in their ecosystem.


  • The goal of changing connections and relationships structuring their ecosystem to positively influence environmental objectives.
Examples of companies that meet PIVOT's criteria?

Examples of established organizations supported by Esplanade and meeting the criteria of the PIVOT program:

Lemay Energy: The multinational company Lemay developed Lemay Energy, an integrated service offering to design carbon-neutral buildings with Net Positive Impact™. Lemay Energy aims to review industry practices to facilitate the design of carbon-neutral real estate projects with an integrated service offering that draws on various expertise and energy performance solutions. Led by two passionate intrapreneurs, Lemay Energy was supported by Esplanade in the climate innovation super cohort in 2021-2022 to develop this new service offering and ensure its alignment with targeted impact goals.

Brique Recyq: Tommy Bouillon, founder of Gratton masonry, sought Esplanade’s support in 2022 to develop and market a brand-new innovative machine, Brique-Recyq. The machine can be used directly on construction sites to remove residual mortar from bricks and enable their reuse. The developed solution demonstrated significant potential to actively contribute to changing practices in the construction sector to reduce waste at the source.

Groupe Canam: Groupe Canam, represented by Yolima Foliaco, a technical building specialist architect, initiated an innovative project: prefabricated panels for the building envelope made from sustainable materials and intended for reuse at the end of the project’s life. Groupe Canam sought Esplanade’s support in 2023 to develop this new component with multiple objectives: within five years, Groupe Canam aims to have brought its new product to market and developed an education strategy for construction companies regarding the circularity of building components.

Examples of fictitious companies:


These examples,which are not exhaustive, aim to illustrate innovative pivots in specific sectors, highlighting creative solutions to address environmental challenges and promote the transition to more responsible business models.

FictiveSolar Inc
(Environment – Clean Energy):


  • Current business model: Company specialized in the production of traditional solar panels.


  • Identified problem: Heavy reliance on rare resources for the manufacturing of solar panels, resulting in high costs and environmental concerns.


  • Proposed solution: Development of a revolutionary technology for organic solar panels, using sustainable and easily recyclable materials, thereby reducing the carbon footprint.


  • Innovation and green transition: Introduction of a new generation of environmentally friendly solar panels, providing a sustainable and efficient alternative in the market.

AquaHarvest Innovations
(Sustainable Food Systems):


  • Current business model: Traditional farming operation.


  • Identified problem: Insufficiency of traditional farming methods to meet the growing demand for sustainable food products.


  • Proposed solution: Integration of a revolutionary system of aerial aquaponic cultivation, combining vegetable cultivation and fish farming in vertical structures, maximizing space, and reducing water consumption.


  • Innovation and green transition: Complete transformation of the agricultural model, offering an innovative and sustainable solution for urban food production while eliminating issues associated with traditional methods.

SkyDrive Mobility Solutions
(Environment – Green Transport):


  • Current business model: Classic ridesharing services.


  • Identified problem: Continued dependence on individual vehicles, leading to traffic congestion and excessive emissions.


  • Proposed solution: Launch of a fleet of solar-powered, autonomous, and shared flying vehicles, providing fast and eco-friendly transportation options.


  • Innovation and green transition: Revolutionizing the transportation landscape by introducing a shared aerial mobility mode, reducing ground congestion and emissions while pushing the boundaries of urban mobility.
Do I have enough time for that?

Devoting a few hours per week to this support program will bring you benefits that are well worth the effort.


Entrepreneurship is a solitary and demanding journey, therefore it is wise to surround yourself with people who understand this reality and can guide you. Esplanade Québec, having already supported nearly 300 impact-driven companies in their development, has encountered various scenarios and can adapt to your needs. The program will help you consider questions that you may not have previously contemplated but are essential to the progress of your project.


Among the unsuspected benefits of accompanying someone to the Esplanade:

  Be challenged by an experienced outsider who doesn’t know your project and who will ask you the questions that hurt and help you move forward

  Benefit from a privileged relationship with the business coach assigned to you, within the framework of personalized coaching that is human, conscientious and adapted to your needs

  Meet the entrepreneurs in your cohort and discuss your issues, fears, concerns and obstacles, which promise to be similar

  Meet the team behind the Esplanade: open-minded, caring and competent people who will listen to you and bring you unexpected opportunities (interesting partnerships, financing options, advice of all kinds, etc.).

Need more information?

An information session will be held online on December 14, 2023 at 12 noon.

The program manager

The Pivot section is managed by Yolène Rosello.

You can write to her at [email protected] or book a time to chat with her.


Don’t forget to submit your application by January 28, 2024 !
Dessin Carine entrepreneurs

Cohort partner

Expertise partners