SUMMERSIDE – Oct. 16, 2017 – The happy winner of the first ever « Francophone Ignition Contest » will receive a great prize of $25,000 and various other rewards in March 2019 to help launch a new business project. RDÉE Prince Edward Island is therefore looking for budding entrepreneurs to participate in the contest.
This new competition for francophone and bilingual business start-ups replaces the RDÉE’s former Dragons’ Contest, which only offered a $10,000 prize. The RDÉE has held four previous editions of this former contest; this year, it was however able to negotiate an agreement with Innovation PEI that would provide the RDÉE with one of the province’s $25,000 Ignition Start-Up Fund prizes to be presented specifically to a francophone entrepreneur.
« We greatly appreciate the fact that Innovation PEI is allowing us to present one of its Ignition prizes during our contest, which will follow the same format that we’ve used for our former Dragons’ Contest, » explained coordinator Velma Robichaud as she launched the new version during the Entrepreneurs’ and Co-operators’ Luncheon in Summerside Oct. 16. « We just had to rebrand our contest and review our criteria, which were quite similar. »
She explained the contest is aimed at francophone and bilingual entrepreneurs who wish to establish a new business, launch a new product or service or expand into a new line of production.
The general presentation of the competition is quite similar to those seen in TV shows such as « Dragons’ Den » or « Shark Tank ». Contestants have seven minutes to present their project (with product samples, images on the big screen and verbal explanations) to a panel of judges. They then decide to invest the cash prize in the proposed business project that seems to have the most potential for success.
Robichaud invites all those who are interested to fill out the application document that can be downloaded from the website www.rdeeipe.org/ignition by Jan. 18, 2019.
The coordinator noted that eligible products or services must be available in both of Canada’s official languages and the business must be setting up shop on PEI. At least one of the owners must be able to do business and make his contest presentation in French. The product or service developed must have the potential to be sold outside of the Island.
Previous winners of the provincial Ignition contest are not eligible. However, former winners of the Dragons’ Contest are.
Robichaud adds that all contestants must attend two full days of « pitch training » with Nova Scotian trainers Ron and Connie Robichaud in early February to learn how to present their entrepreneurial project in a concise and convincing way. In mid-February, they will all get a chance to present their pitch to a provincial panel of judges, who will select the three top projects.
These three finalists will compete in the March 16 finals in Summerside before a national panel of entrepreneurial experts. In addition to the $25,000 cash prize, the winner will also receive several other gifts, including free memberships to the Charlottetown and Summerside Chambers of Commerce and to the Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of PEI, along with free business courses from the Collège de l’Île. The winning project will also get lots of media coverage.
The finals will be held in conjunction with the Acadian Chamber’s 2019 Entrepreneurs’ Gala. Last year, about 100 people watched the three finalists make their presentation.
Co-ordination, training, promotion and administration of the contest are made possible thanks to a contribution from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
All requests for information can be addressed to Robichaud at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 902-854-3439, Ext. 227.
CUTLINE: Co-ordinator Velma Robichaud and returning judge Olivier Bertrand of Moncton, NB, officially launched the newly branded 2018 edition of the Francophone Ignition Contest Tuesday, Oct. 16, in Summerside.
For more information:
Francophone Ignition Contest co-ordinator
902-854-3439, Ext. 227