Meet an ambassador : Sergio A. Escobar

Sergio Escobar is the managing director of the Founder Institute’s Montréal chapter, an incubation program for technology startups whose mission is to build enduring and profitable companies. His areas of interest are strategic development, business startups and financial management.

Over the past eight years, Sergio has actively helped launch small- and medium-sized e­commerce and mobile payment businesses.

He is also the organizer of Startup Weekend Montréal, and has extensive experience both locally and globally.

“What draws me to Montréal is its ‘bipolar’ nature.”

Sergio A. Escobar, Montréal Program Director, The Founder Institute

Why did you decide to become an ambassador? Why is it important for you to be an ambassador for Greater Montréal?

You don’t choose to become an ambassador. Either you are one, or you aren’t. For me, this isn’t just a title or a concept—it’s a way of life. You do it for your family, your work, your friends, or for a cause. You do it to exercise your leadership or help someone or something reach the next level. It’s all about sharing, and as an ambassador for Greater Montréal I can spread the word about the region’s successes both here and around the world. This is something that is important to me.

Fostering new IT businesses is my way of giving back to the community. I help them get off the ground using innovative incubation programs that I bring back from all over the world and replicate here.

What do you like most about Greater Montréal?

What draws me to Montréal is its “bipolar” nature. There is a love/hate relationship between cultures here, and that provides us with new challenges every day.

I think Montréal is a unique, fascinating place where people have learned to live and work together. I would even say that Montrealers live a “tripolar” existence, as so many other cultures have joined the city’s Francophone and Anglophone fabric over the past century.

Unlike New York City where the different ethnic groups tend to live in separate neighbourhoods, Montréal is a culturally, emotionally and psychologically diverse and unusual ecosystem. It’s a community that has found a way to work in relative harmony—a unique environment that constantly pushes us to challenge ourselves. And that’s what makes Greater Montréal a truly creative and open-minded city.

Three words that best describe Greater Montréal?

Harmony, joie de vivre and know-how.

What do you hope Greater Montréal will be like in 20 years?

I would like Montréal to be Canada’s innovation hub, like San Francisco is to California. It’s a pity that major corporations have moved or opened their head offices in Toronto, but we often forget that Montréal has a huge potential for innovation that’s under­exploited and undervalued. It’s very important to create a “virtuous circle” to promote that strength and inspire others to do the same.

Are you from Montréal? 

I was born in Bolivia. I came to study in Montréal in 1994. After I graduated from university, I received a job offer which I accepted, thinking I would return home with some experience. But I ended up settling in Montréal.

What are you passionate about?

My work is my passion. By doing what I do, I can encourage people around me to innovate and I can help them realize their full potential to become the entrepreneurs they dream of being. And I travel the world to do that.

If you could have a physical or mental superpower, what would it be?  Why?

You have all the ingredients for a happy life here, but I meet a lot of people who are unhappy with their careers. I come from a country that has known war, and this experience has taught me to see challenges as opportunities. So, if I had a superpower, it would be the power to heal—to heal hearts.


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