Press Releases

National Bank and IBM’s “Connected to Your Business” trailer crisscrosses Quebec

Montreal, 6 June 2005 -

For the consecutive second year, the National Bank and IBM are launching their “Connected to Your Business” tour, which will make stops in a number of large cities in Quebec to make small and medium-sized businesses aware of the importance of innovation. Globalization means heightened competition between companies and the emergence of new competitors in places like Asia and India. To stay competitive, SMBs must equip themselves with high-performance technological tools and adopt the best management practices while staying focused on innovation and creativity.

“As the leading bank of Quebec businesses, the National Bank wants to support the growth and development of Quebec’s SMBs. To survive global competition, our companies must improve their performance and become more innovative. Since there are various strategies for attaining these goals, our products and services targets five major areas: operational efficiency, financing, risk management, investment and business sustainability,” explained Nicole Dumont, vice-president, INC Business Solutions.

“According to Statistics Canada, 80% of new jobs in Quebec in the past decade were created by innovative SMBs. For IBM, the success of these companies lies in their ability to integrate information technologies into their business processes in order to improve the performance and marketing of their products and services,” said Martin Landry, executive director of Financial Solutions at IBM.

The “Connected to Your Business” trailer begins its tour on June 6. It will continue until October 26, 2005, visiting nine large cities in Quebec. The first city on its itinerary was Chicoutimi on June 6. At each stop along the way, the National Bank, IBM and the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec invites entrepreneurs to attend a talk offering practical advice on how to become more competitive without sacrificing profitability.

Embracing innovation: a sizeable challenge for SMEs

According to Alain Samson, author of the SOS Boulot collectionand guest speaker on the tour, “There’s no doubt that SMBs have been the driving force in the Quebec economy for the past 25 years. But now it seems that the conditions that have fostered their success are increasingly less present. When we hear about the the economic emergence of countries no one even mentioned a few years ago and when we realize that even with the free trade agreement we are still in a race toward increased productivity, we might well wonder if Quebec’s SMBs are an endangered species.”

The “Connected to Your Business” tour will visit the following cities and towns:

 Chicoutimi

 St-Jean-sur-Richelieu

 St-Georges-de-Beauce

 Sherbrooke

 Victoriaville

 St-Jérôme

 Quebec City

 Hull

 Montreal

 

A photo is available.

Photo caption
The 58-foot “Connected to Your Business” trailer equipped with technological tools will make stops in several large cities and towns in Quebec, to make Quebec’s small and mid-sized businesses aware of the importance of remaining competitive.

About the National Bank of Canada
National Bank of Canada is an integrated group which provides comprehensive financial services to consumers, small and medium-sized enterprises and large corporations in its core market, while offering specialized services to its clients elsewhere in the world. The National Bank offers a full array of banking services, including retail, corporate and investment banking. It is an active player on international capital markets and, through its subsidiaries, is involved in securities brokerage, insurance and wealth management as well as mutual fund and retirement plan management. The National Bank has assets of $100 billion and, together with its subsidiaries, employs close to 17,000 people. The Bank’s securities are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (NA:TSX). For more information, visit the Bank’s website at www.nbc.ca.

About IBM
With some 5,500 employees in Quebec, IBM provides products, services and expertise to help local companies and organisations grow here and expand globally. Thanks to a diversified portfolio of activities in Quebec such as the manufacturing of electronic components at the Bromont plant or consulting services provided by the IBM Business Consulting Services, IBM is by far the most committed Information Technology global leader in the province.

Information:

Denis Dubé
Public relations director
National Bank of Canada
(514) 394-8644

Joanne Fortin
Communications director - Quebec
IBM Canada
(514) 938-6931