TechniTextile Québec is focused on promoting Québec’s technical textiles industry, while supporting member companies in a variety of ways.
By Jim Kaufmann, Contributing Editor
The ever-increasing pace of change experienced throughout the textile industry has compelled companies in virtually every sector to craft various approaches to harness these changes and maybe more importantly to take advantage of them. A unique and innovative program adopted by Québec’s Ministry of Economy and Innovation aims to position the Québec Province’s business regions worldwide as industrial expertise centers. The approach borrows several tenants from a traditional Chamber of Commerce, only on a much larger geographic scale, adds in an “all for one and one for all” mentality and then focuses on creating essentially an ecosystem around “branded industry clusters.” Each industry cluster is made up of Québec-based companies with industry-specific interests to “work as one for the benefit of all.” TechniTextile Québec, a non-profit organization and legal entity that represents the sector, is one such cluster with a specific focus on the technical textiles industry.
Established in 2017 by merging three smaller clusters from different areas of the Québec Province, which includes the cities of Montreal and Québec City and much more, TechniTextile Québec was created to champion Québec’s technical textiles industry, while providing technical support, guidance and fostering collaboration, innovation and market development to member companies throughout the Québec Province and ultimately internationally. “The purpose of the merger was to consolidate the entire Québec technical textiles sector into a single niche with a broader critical mass of companies,” said Dany Charest, TechniTextile Québec’s general manager. “Our focus now is to develop and position this cluster of member companies as a brand incorporating a strategic plan to establish it as a center of technical textiles expertise in Québec and abroad.”
The textile industry in general and technical textiles in particular have a large economic impact on the Québec Province where there are more than 400 companies who manufacture or use technical textiles to produce related end products. These include several companies and brands that are leaders in their respective fields based in the Québec province such as:
- Cirque de Soleil’s Costume Workshop;
- Logistik Unicorp., a developer and producer of uniforms;
- Duvaltex, a manufacturer of fabrics for office, hospitality and healthcare applications;
- Soprema, a manufacturer of building materials;
- Belt-Tech, a producer of webbings and narrow fabrics for industrial applications;
- Texel Technical Materials Inc., a technical nonwovens producer; and
- 3B Hockey, a manufacturer of hockey jerseys and socks.
All of these companies incorporate advancements in technical textiles throughout their various product lines.
Charest explained: “Technical textiles can take the form of knits, wovens, nonwovens, carpets, rope and braids, where performance and functional characteristics are more important than esthetic attributes such as texture and visual appearance. In general, technical textiles must comply with strict customer specifications and meet precise standards for specific applications. The resulting products and composites are aimed at the industrial, construction, defense, environmental, civil engineering, safety, recreational, medical, sports, transportation and technical clothing sectors. In our view, most textiles used to make everyday clothing for the fashion market do not fall into this category. However, it should be noted that all textile markets, including fashion and clothing, certainly benefit from the many advances made in technical textile technology.”
Open Dialogs, Collaborations
While its primary focus is to promote the Québec Province’s technical textiles industry, TechniTextile Québec serves as a platform for opening dialogs and exchange between its members. It nurtures collaborations within the cluster to pool resources, initiate development activities, increase the local production of innovative textiles, improve time to market and create new jobs. “Every textile mill strives for performance,” Charest said. “Innovation and support are key to building a successful business model. We offer support in a variety of ways including several projects that focus on innovation, commercialization, market growth and sustainable development as well as developing partnerships amongst our members in order to create greater value.
“Today, TechniTextile Québec’s success is measured by the industry’s outreach to other industrial sectors that typically purchase textile products and materials,” Charest offered. “Our primary objective is to promote the region’s manufacturing capacity, which still remains relatively unknown outside of the Québec Province to this day. We are also working with Primacom, a business and marketing communications company to help us achieve our objectives in raising the profile of the industry.”
New Website, Portal
In January 2020, TechniTextile Québec will launch a new website and portal to promote the cluster’s member companies globally and make it easier for prospective technical textiles buyers to find them. The portal will feature a specialized search engine and a technical guidance desk staffed by TechniTextile Québec to make searching for suppliers and technical resources as effortless as possible. Each TechniTextile Québec member will have a listing on the portal that provides general information on their company and its product focus. Member companies will also be able to buy space for more detailed listings, gaining even greater visibility. “Making those connections between buyer and supplier is the main focus of the portal, so it will contain very little information on the cluster’s varied projects and activities, many of which may be proprietary,” Charest explained. “Our goal is to have 300 member companies on the TechniTextile.ca portal by the end of 2020 in order to provide buyers worldwide with a large pool of our cluster’s potential suppliers. This digital initiative is a ‘must’ in today’s business climate.”
Along with the TechniTextile.ca portal, TechniTextile Québec intends to launch a campaign to promote textile products made in Québec. “Our goal is to inform Québec’s institutional, commercial and industrial buyers about the multitude of value-added textile products right here in Québec via short video clips and other promotional activities,” Charest noted. “In addition, we have targeted two primary markets, where we will hold a few shows in 2020 on subsectors such as personal protection, construction and furniture. During these fairs, we will promote TechniTextile Québec, the new website and portal, broadcast our member’s video clips and provide some technical conferences and seminars to demystify the world of textiles. Québec is experiencing a full employment situation, so it is difficult to find workers in all industries, including the textiles sector. So, we’re hoping that these conferences and seminars will help to create interest in textiles for new workers as well.”
For its members, TechniTextile Québec’s level of success is based on tangibles and intangibles. The tangibles include membership numbers, levels of participation, satisfaction rates and the success of the website and portal among others. The intangibles however may prove to be more valuable in the long run. “We’re all in a race to get product to market” offered one industry veteran, “but as a whole, we are stronger than as individuals. Helping all for the benefit of all through the collaborations established, relationships built and opportunities developed resulting in the long term strength of the industry is really how TechniTextile Québec’s value will be defined.”