Three young francophones who established businesses over the summer of 2013 were rewarded for their efforts during the 2014 Entrepreneurs’ Gala. RDÉE PEI president Martin Marcoux, second from left, presented each of them with a Young Millionaires’ Award. They are, from left, Félix Thériault (Gator on Wheels), Stuart Lawther (Stuie’s Beach Chairs) and Michael MacEwen (Simply Sno-Cones). Absent from the photo: Elliot Fraser, partner of the Simply Sno-Cones business.
SUMMERSIDE, PEI – March 15, 2014 – The young bilingual owners of three small businesses established last summer have just been officially recognized for their exceptional efforts and their fantastic innovative spirit.
During the 2014 Entrepreneurs’ Gala, March 15 in Summerside, RDÉE Prince Edward Island Inc. and the Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of PEI presented the Prix Jeunes millionnaires (Young Millionaires’ Award) to:
•Félix Thériault of Stratford (whose business Gators on Wheels sold beverages and snacks from a cooler on wheels);
•Michael MacEwen and Eliott Fraser of Stratford (whose business Simply Sno-Cones sold snow cones of various flavors);
•and Stuart Lawther of Charlottetown (whose business Stuie’s Beach Chairs built and sold wooden beach chairs).
“These youth got a first taste of entrepreneurship and bit into it quite hard! They surpassed all of their objectives,” said RDÉE president Martin Marcoux. “For the most part, the products they prepared and sold were fairly common – things you could buy in practically any grocery or convenience store. However, these youth obviously understood quite well that it is not only the product that counts; it is also the quality of service that attracts and retains clients. In the case of our young winners, it was the personalized service of direct delivery that made all the difference.”
Marcoux added that the winners also used various modern technological methods, including web sites and Facebook pages, to promote their businesses, services and products. One of the winners was even equipped to take payment by credit card.
The Young Millionaires Program, funded by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Innovation PEI, seeks to stimulate the business sense and the entrepreneurial spirit among youth aged 8-16. Participants participate in a series of training sessions to acquire elementary business skills in bookkeeping, marketing, sales, customer service and public speaking. Once the workshops are completed, the youth submit a business plan and receive a grant of $100 for individuals and $150 for partnerships to help them get their summer business off the ground.
The Central Development Corporation (CDC) manages the program provincially; various organizations help deliver the program in various regions of the Island. For several years now, RDÉE PEI has been coordinating the French edition of the provincial program. Each year, about 20-40 francophone youth from various Island regions participate in the “Programme Jeunes millionnaires”.
Two years ago, the CDC established an excellence award to present to a participant from each group that stood out. This year, the RDÉE decided to honor the three top performers from its group.
GATORS ON WHEELS – Félix Thériault, son of Monique and Francis Thériault of Stratford, came up with a simple entrepreneurial idea: his business would sell cold refreshing beverage, such as Gatorade, water and pop, as well as snacks such as cookies and muffins. This young innovator showed incredible commitment to his business and built up a devoted clientele. Every day, Félix would show up with his cooler on wheels at home construction sites in his neighborhood at the morning and afternoon breaks. This entrepreneurial lad had even developed a perfect system to refrigerate his products to ensure that they would be at optimal temperatures when he would arrive at the work sites. Because of his extreme commitment, Félix is being hailed as the top businessman of his group since he attainted sales of over $2,000 and profits of about $1,000.
SIMPLY SNO-CONES – This business was established by two Stratford buddies – Michael MacEwen, son of Derek and Nancy MacEwen, and Eliott Fraser, son of Donald and Melanie Fraser. The dynamic duo bought an ice-chipping machine to make snow cones of various flavors. They then had to obtain health permits from the province to be able to sell their products. They travelled throughout the province to sell their snow-cones at various locations and events: Old Home Week, farmers’ markets in North River and Mayfield, Evangeline Area Agricultural Exhibition and Acadian Festival and the Tea Hill and Kinlock beaches. To facilitate sales, they even got an attachment for their photo’s cell phone to take payment by credit cards. The business partners wrapped up their summer with a handsome profit of about $400.
STUIE’S BEACH CHAIRS – Stuart Lawther, son of Reina Lamothe and Derek Lawther of Charlottetown, obviously has a very innovative spirit. To conduct his market research, he used an online survey application. He then set up a Facebook page to allow a greater diversity of people to answer his survey. With help from his father, he developed, by trial and error, a beautiful and portable wooden chair that is perfectly suited for the beach. He then built every single one of his chairs. Made up of two distinct parts, these comfortable chairs are easy to carry and assemble. Over the summer, Stuart sold 24 of his chairs, mostly through his social media page. Even though his profit margin wasn’t huge, Stuart still wanted to contribute a portion of his revenues to a charitable organization, namely Big Brothers Big Sisters of PEI.
For more information:
Raymond J. Arsenault
2014 Entrepreneurs’ Gala
(902) 854-3439(902) 854-3439, Ext. 231