The world as we knew it changed forever on March 13, 2020. No one was spared by the public health crisis, which threw our society into turmoil and exposed vulnerabilities most of us weren’t aware of. Economic stability was shaken by a fragile supply chain and the manufacturing sector’s struggles to meet essential needs at home while keeping up with international demand to sustain our economy. The pandemic revealed the importance of ensuring a diversified domestic manufacturing sector supported by a resilient supply chain.

Before the health crisis, the manufacturing sector was already contending with a labour shortage and automation challenges. Production lines became stretched even thinner when they had to implement public health measures. Immature technology and just-on-time supply chains were becoming increasingly risky, and they proved to be a weak link when the international production chain was compromised. Despite all the uncertainty the pandemic has brought, it has also created opportunities that could stimulate the economic recovery. 

The challenge is to build resilience in manufacturing by creating solutions for these production issues and managing risks associated with vulnerabilities in the supply chain.

The purpose of the challenge is to develop a solution that will stimulate economic recovery by creating value in the manufacturing sector and increasing resilience through 1 of the 3 following projects:

Reducing risks in manufacturing chains

  • Instability due to stretched supply chains
  • Reliance on international suppliers
  • Shipping bottlenecks
  • Low inventory due to just-in-time production strategies


Improving production processes

  • Persistent labour shortages
  • Stubborn automation roadblocks
  • Productivity lags due to Industry 4.0 obstacles
  • Implementation of public health measures


Speeding up strategic shifts

  • Need to pivot to post-pandemic market
  • Lack of digital and technological maturity
  • Increased openness to local collaboration
  • Business opportunities related to sustainable development




Explore a business opportunity with a member of Desjardins in the manufacturing sector if your application is selected.


Benefit from strategic support to develop a proof of concept (POC) and your business proposal


Gain privileged access to experts and key decision makers in the manufacturing sector

expected solutions

  • Develop smart supply chain systems
  • Create initiatives that foster regional supply chains
  • Improve logistics or shipping
  • Streamline the supply chain
  • Roll out new agile supply approaches
  • Implement a continuous risk management tool for the supply chain
  • Develop a sustainable model with increased just-in-time volume

  • Strengthen production capacity
  • Rethink the role of human labour in industrial supply chains
  • Speed up the shift to Industry 4.0 automation and predictive maintenance
  • Develop automation support services to mitigate risk
  • Increase the agility of production plans to better adapt to variable demand

  • Decarbonize industrial chains
  • Add value to production residue and surplus
  • Support the shift to a circular model and management
  • Increase capacity for new technological showcases
  • Implement a process to share best practices and increase corporate memory
  • Establish an interorganizational system to share human resources and materials
  • Streamline the sustainable design process to optimize product lifecycles


  • Be a startup (less than 10 years old with fewer than 100
  • Have a head office located in Canada
  • Be a team of at least 2 people
  • Be at the MVP or product-market fit stage
  • Be financially stable

Selection Criteria

  • Realistic implementation
  • Relevant solution
  • Sector-specific experience
  • Proven capacity, from MVP to success
  • Independence in solution development
  • Demonstrated resources, expertise and process required

Type of collaboration desired

  • Service agreement
  • Strategic partnership
  • Co-development of a new solution or a complementary solution to existing product
  • Licence to use the solution
  • Any other type of relevant collaboration

How to participate


Interested startups can participate in the challenge. There will be an informal private workshop before the end of the application period. This workshop will provide additional information to startups applying for the challenge. It will also be an opportunity for them to ask questions about preparing preliminary assumptions related to their proof of concept.

To participate, applicants must submit:

  • Application form
  • Application deck (.pdf)

More details on the content to provide via the application form.


Once the applications have been received, Desjardins and Bonjour Startup Montréal will review the application files to see if the submissions respond to the challenge objectives. They will select applicants according to the challenge criteria. Successful candidates can move forward in the process and present their proposals to a group of Desjardins representatives and members at a matchmaking event.


Successful applicants will participate in a private online matchmaking event. It’s an opportunity for successful startups to present Desjardins and manufacturing business members with their solutions to the challenge. After the event, Desjardins business members will be paired with applicants to develop their proof of concept. They will be coached by Bonjour Startup Montréal throughout this process.


The goal of this step is to test potential solutions and prove that startups’ assumptions can be completed according to a particular timeline, measures and budget. This phase involves a series of business meetings with Desjardins project teams and manufacturing business members, accelerating the POC test process and preparing official business proposals for the selected pairs.


Phase 1: Selection

Opening of applications

June 7 2021

Private informal webinar

July 8 2021

End of application period

July 30 2021

Announcement of selected applicants

september 2021

Phase 2: Matchmaking event

Private matchmaking event online

September 29 2021

Phase 3: Exploration of collaboration

Acceleration of collaboration and proof of concept (POC) testing

October 2021 – January 2022

Submission of business proposals

February 2022

Are you up for the challenge?

Apply now