‘The art of bringing art to the world’ is the slogan you’ll see when you land on Creos’ website. The family-owned company provides consulting and project management services to artists and art organizations and helps them export their installations worldwide.
It started in 2015 when Benoit Lemieux, a lifetime entrepreneur, brought the idea to his three sons and his wife, Sonia. “He noticed there were lots of artists in Montreal and wondered if we could help them out,” says Alexandre Lemieux, one of Benoit’s sons and Creos’ Business Development Manager.
And by help, Benoit meant help showcasing Montreal’s art globally. He saw Creos as a company that could use its project management talents to bring local art installations to the international stage. His family agreed, and Creos was open for business.
“Our goal was to take the burden of all the logistics, operations, transportation and business development from the artists’ shoulders so they could focus on what they’re really good at—creating art,” says Lemieux.
But shipping large art installations across the world wasn’t cheap, and Creos soon learned just how much it was going to cost the new company. To improve cash flow, it turned to EDC for help.
How EDC helped
Since 1944, Economy Development Canada, the financially self-sufficient agency has helped thousands of small Canadian companies respond to international trade opportunities so they can take their exporting business to the next level. Much of EDC’s work is done in collaboration with the Government of Canada.
EDC’s Export Guarantee Program helped Creos access more working capital to increase its line of credit. With the extra cash, the company was able to connect its office and warehouse, which, Lemieux says, “has made productivity go through the roof.” By allowing Creos to offer better payment terms, the program also helped the business move to new markets with confidence. It also allowed Creos to move into countries it never thought possible, like Israel.
“When we went to Jerusalem in 2017, it was the first time in the Middle East for us, so it was a big step for our company. We had EDC help us to make sure that if anything was to happen, we were covered. A big project like this—when you take your first steps in a different culture, different part of the world—EDC allowed us to be a bit more at ease to go there,” says Lemieux.
Today, 80 per cent of Creos’ business operates in the United States. And since working with EDC, the company has expanded into other countries including Australia, Switzerland and France. Next on the list is China, possibly followed by South American and African markets after that.
“For us, there are no boundaries and no limits for where we want to go. Because we feel our product is universal, there’s no reason we can’t go anywhere,” says Lemieux.
Beyond entering new markets, Creos also wants to continue to help artists get their work noticed around the world, and bridge the gap between art and business. “It’s always been that art is distant from business, but we want to make sure that artists can make a living with their work and create more art in the future. We want to make sure they have the confidence to say, “Okay, I can create one more,”’ says Lemieux.
EDC’s Export Guarantee Program can help your bank provide you with additional access to financing. It shares the risk with your bank by providing a guarantee on the money you borrow, encouraging them to increase your access to working capital. Click here to learn more.