Breaking down the facts on Montréal's Notman House and the OSMO Foundation

Posted by Knowlton Thomas

It's exciting for Montréal to watch the transformation as Notman House becomes the tech hub of the city. Following a half-million dollar grant from the municipal government, other funding streams are flowing in and Project Notman is progressing at a steady pace.

What is Project Notman?

From the new website:

 

Project Notman will be an attractive and energizing location for the web entrepreneurs of Montreal to develop and iterate their business ideas and beta products. The property will provide an array of collaborative work and meeting spaces, curated by members who will promote the exchange of ideas and knowledge. Spaces include small offices and co-working desks that can be rented by the hour or the month and a variety of event and meeting rooms for residents, members and guests, as well as an Internet cafe open to the public, [etc.]

What is the Notman House?

From the new website:

Notman House, located at 51 Sherbrooke Street West, will soon provide a home for open-innovation and collaborative entrepreneurship in Montreal. Built in 1844, the Notman House was designated an historic property in 1979. Due to the restrictions imposed by this historic status, it has been a challenge to find a suitable vocation for it and the property has lain empty for several years now. We intend to not only restore both buildings, respecting their original configuration and appearance, but will also grant public access to certain parts of the reconfigured property.

OSMO Foundation logoAs this dramatic makeover unfolds, NextMontreal took the time to assemble a comprehensive list of "13 things you need to know about Notman House & OSMO Foundation"—the OSMO Foundation being the organization driving Project Notman. We paraphrase these key points for your convenience.

1. The OSMO Foundation is a non-profit organization that was put into place expressly in order to make an offer on the Notman House property.

2. OSMO Foundation’s driving mission is to fund grassroots initiatives that support community building and networking (within the tech space). This is important because OSMO may eventually fund activities beyond Notman. 

3. OSMO is a funding entity, not an organizing committee. They raise money, not organize events.

4. OSMO will fund collaboration and networking activities outside of Montréal with the intention of building strategic bridges with other communities.

5. OSMO has five people on its Board of Directors. Eventually it will have a total of nine. The people on the board include Alain MacIntosh, John Stokes, Bruce McNiven, Phil Telio, and Sylvain Carle.

6. Notman House has a separate Steering Committee with 12 people. This isn’t a legal entity. The chairperson is Mark Bruneau. The others are: Alan MacIntosh, Partner at Montreal StartUp and Real Ventures; Bruce McNiven; Andre Brosseau, Founder of Avenue Capital Markets, Board Member at Prestige Telecom and Aptilon; Marie-Claude Johnson, Senior Partner at MRCNR; Sylvain Carle, Co-Founder of Praized Media, board member of Alliance numerique; Martin Leblanc, Partner at Sid Lee architecture; Patrick Tanguay, Co-Founder of Station C; Robert Gervais, Founder and CEO of Zerofail; Phil Telio, President at Embrase, Co-Founder of Startup Camp; Daniel Drouet, Partner at Montreal StartUp, Founder of Ajah; and John Stokes, Partner at Montreal StartUp and Real Ventures.

7. The Steering Committee is focused on four things: soliciting community involvement & input; attracting private & corporate sponsors; solidifying government funding and support; and keeping things moving.

8. OSMO has leased Notman House for six months. They eventually want to buy the entire building.

9. The Real Ventures team has already moved in. And improvements have been made:: painting, plumbing, electrical, and cleaning.

10. Notman will be available soon for startups or individuals from the tech community to rent desks on a short-term basis. 

11. Once Notman is launched completely, they expect to continue offering temporary office and workspace, but not permanent space (up to six months). 

12. There will be an open “cafe” space with tables, seating, couches, etc. It will be open from 7:30am to 7:30pm.

13. Notman House is getting an updated website and it will include signup forms and contact forms for people interested in temporary office space. They’ll also be looking for volunteers to help run the place.

For NextMontréal's full list, go here.

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Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton is the managing editor of Techvibes. Based in Vancouver, Knowlton has been published in national publications and has also appeared on television and radio. Previously he was an editor for New Westminster weekly The Other Press and served on its board of directors. When not working, Knowlton enjoys playing tennis, hiking, and exploring weird side streets. more



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