Only 3 will make it to March 12 finals
SUMMERSIDE – Feb. 5, 2016 – Organizers of the new francophone Dragons’ Contest were pleasantly surprised to get more than a dozen applications from people with innovative entrepreneurial ideas wanting to participate.
« We had no idea how many people might be interested in competing in such a contest, » says coordinator Rachel Chappell. « The fact that we’re offering a $10,000 first prize to help the winner get his entrepreneurial project off the ground was probably a major motivating factor. »
She notes that she has received applications proposing all kinds of projects from French-speaking people wishing to start or expand a business or launch a new product or service.
She regrets the fact that organizers now have to whittle that number down to three finalists for the grand finale of the Dragons’ Contest, in the gymnasium at Centre Belle-Alliance in Summerside, Saturday, March 12, at 5 p.m., right before the Acadian Entrepreneurs’ Gala, which starts at 6 p.m. down the hall.
To get to that stage, contestants first have to take two important, obligatory steps. First, they must participate in a dozen hours of « pitch training » to learn from professionals how to « sell » the merits of their product to a potential buyer – or, in the case of a contest like this one, to a panel of judges. Trainers Ron and Connie Robichaud from Nova Scotia are coming to PEI to help deliver this intense training, which will comprise of group presentations and discussions as well as individual consultations. Trainers will address everything from the potential sale and profitability of products and services right down to body language and vocabulary used when trying to sell.
Those who decide to stay on after the training will have to undergo pre-selection interviews by a panel of provincial experts in the fields of entrepreneurship and finance in mid-February. The panel will then select the three top projects they feel are most apt to succeed, based not only on the product or service proposed but on the motivation and capacity of the person proposing them to bring them to fruition.
At the final competition, which will be open to the public, the three finalists will each get seven minutes to pitch their project to a national panel of entrepreneurial judges. After their presentations, they’ll attend the Entrepreneurs’ Gala. At the end of the gala, the name of the $10,000 grand prize winner will be announced. This person will also win a series of other prizes: year-long memberships to Charlottetown, Summerside and Acadian chambers of commerce, business courses at Collège Acadie Î.-P.-É. and a $200 gift certificate from the UPEI bookstore.
Admission to the Dragon’s Contest competition is free and open to all; a bar service will be available. However, to attend the Gala to hear the name of the winner, people must purchase a ticket no later than March 4 either at the Centre Belle-Alliance, at the Wellington Rural Action Centre or at the RDÉE PEI offices in Charlottetown.
The Dragons’ Contest, similar to the Dragons’ Den TV show, is an initiative of RDÉE Prince Edward Island, the provincial francophone economic development council. Sponsors for the $10,000 cash prize are RDÉE PEI, Innovation PEI, Mike Bradley Insurance Services (The Co-operators) and RDÉE Canada.
CUTLINE: Rachel Chappell, coordinator of the Dragons’ Contest, can’t get over the number of applications she received from people interested in vying for the competition’s $10,000 first prize.
For more information:
Dragons’ Contest coordinator
(902) 370-7333, Ext. 401