An entrepreneur from Sainte-Julie is starting to grow cannabis. The company Agropod, created three years ago, is already well represented in the products sold at the SQDC.
Agropod is the most recent company run by Ian Bourassa, president and founder. The entrepreneur is originally from Sainte-Julie and graduated from the Saint-Bruno school. The head office is located in Varennes and the company has a production site and a research and development center in Verchères.
After a career in real estate, construction, and still in the restaurant business, mainly in Montreal, Ian Bourassa is returning to his native Montérégie with Agropod.
It's hard to know that the company grows cannabis on its premises if you don't know what Agropod's mission is. The company specializes in industrial and urban agriculture of pharmaceutical and recreational cannabis.
In Varennes, the company offers 20 flowering rooms capable of producing 40,000 feet of cannabis per year. The site is built according to the latest technological standards to optimize profitability. While the security is worthy of the best banking institutions, "it's not necessarily for the people outside, but rather for internal verification," says Bourassa.
Agropod's activity is not limited to its premises. It also supports regional producers, micro cultivators, to complete their cannabis production. It must be said that the company has been very successful at the SQDC with its first product, Crème de menthe, which is already popular and available in all branches in Quebec. The demand is so great that the company is even having difficulty meeting the orders of the Crown corporation.
"Our product is in great demand. We always try to find out what the consumer wants and we always offer top-of-the-line products. We are one of the only ones in Quebec to have a complete development center."
Bourassa acknowledges that the excitement around the legalization of cannabis in Canada was not necessarily a good thing at first in this business. "The market capitalization that took place hurt the industry a lot, but that will level out over time. We are here to stay."
The investments are there to prove it. For the Varennes site alone, the entrepreneur plans to inject 15 million dollars into the project to offer a product ready to be sold to the SQDC.
When you visit the site, you notice that every precaution is taken to protect the young plants. Gowns, helmets, shoe covers, nothing is left to chance to prevent the crops from being contaminated. "We don't have huge rooms and all the rooms are independent. A ventilation, temperature, and lighting system is calculated as precisely as possible from central computers that can manage and control the slightest variation remotely.
Once the company is fully operational, it will have around 40 employees. There are 25 at the Verchères site. To this must be added the micro cultivators who supply AGROPOD with cannabis flowers.