Helene Desmarais

Helene Desmarais

Founder & Executive Chairman of IVADO Labs

Helene Desmarais is Founder & Executive Chairman of IVADO Labs and Founder-Co Chairman of SCALE AI. She steers the two organizations jointly with their management teams.

Ms. Desmarais is also Co-Chair of CDL-Montréal and NextAI, two of Canada’s major entrepreneurship incubator programs, which she founded in Montréal. As such, she works with different business leaders to launch innovative start-ups.

She also sits on the boards of numerous other businesses and associations, where she has the opportunity to contribute her talents as a manager and share her experience as a director. They include the Centre d’entreprises et d’innovation de Montréal (CEIM), which she founded in 1996, the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, the Montreal Economic Institute , Christian Dior Se and Garda World 

As an entrepreneur, Ms. Desmarais chaired the Board of Directors of Gestion Bio-Capital for its first ten years. The venture fund, specializing in biotech start-ups, helped create some 20 businesses, two of them worth over $1 billion.

Ms. Desmarais received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2002 and again in 2012. In addition to this most recent distinction from Polytechnique Montréal, in 2009 she was awarded honorary doctorates from St. Francis Xavier and Lumière Lyon II universities. That same year she received the Medal of Honour from the Faculty of Medicine of the Université de Montréal, along with the Order of Canada. She was declared a Great Montrealer in the economic sector and inducted into the Entrepreneurs Club of the Conseil du Patronat du Québec in 2010, and made an Officer of the Ordre national du Québec in 2013 and a Commander of the Ordre de Montréal in 2016.