Acadian Chamber honours five impressive winners at 20th Entrepreneurs’ Gala

Major focus on sustainability

ABRAM-VILLAGE – April 10, 2022 – An eco-friendly heating business, an organization dedicated to veterans and the community, the manager of a community newspaper, a dedicated young multi-entrepreneur and a young crafter with a lot of imagination have just earned top business awards from the 20th edition of the Acadian Entrepreneurs’ Gala.

The Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of PEI (CCAFLIPE) was pleased to honor these five winners at its biggest entrepreneurial recognition evening of the year, held in Abram-Village on the evening of Saturday, April 9, in front of an appreciative crowd of 163 people.

The five winners were:

• 2022 Business of Excellence Award: Atlantic Bioheat, owner Dick Arsenault, Abram-Village (sponsored by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency);
• 2022 Social Economy Business Award: Wellington Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 17, Wellington (sponsored by MacDonald Insurance & Investments – The Co-operators);
• 2022 Distinguished Employee Award: Marcia Enman, manager of La Voix acadienne, Wellington (sponsored by Innovation PEI);
• 2022 Young Enterprising Person Award: Nico Durant, owner of LaFun, Durant Metals and Nico Durant Inc., Mont-Carmel (sponsored by CBDC Central PEI);
• 2021 Young Millionaire Award: Jolène Gallant, Red Rock Jewelry, Abram-Village (sponsored by Radio-Canada Acadie).

« The selection committee was very impressed with all your applications because you are doing an amazing job, » said Chamber spokesperson Pierre Gallant in his welcome message.


He then explained to the crowd that, « This year, we have placed a special emphasis on sustainable development. You’ll see that most of tonight’s nominees and winners are making a great effort to conserve resources, reduce waste and save money – to protect the planet as well as to protect the human race and all other species of plants and animals. »

Wanting to celebrate the 20th edition of its Gala, CCAFLIPE hosted a half-hour reception earlier in the evening. During the banquet, it showed on the big screen many images – mostly of winners – from the first 19 editions of its entrepreneurial recognition event. The presentation evoked fond memories, especially of previous winners who have passed away.

The other first-level sponsors of the Gala were the Provincial Credit Union, Clientis, the Baie Acadienne Development Corporation, Key Murray Law, RDÉE Canada and RDÉE Prince Edward Island.

The second-level sponsors were Wellington Co-op, Navigate Food Safety, HMS Office Solutions, RBC (commercial financial services), ReMax Harbourside Realty, Westech Agriculture, Stewart McElvey Law, Evermoore Brewing, ProMax 2000 and Strathgartney Highlands Golf Course.




PHOTO 1: The winners of the regular awards at the 20th edition of the Acadian Entrepreneurs’ Gala, presented by the Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of PEI on Saturday, April 9, in Abram-Village, are, seated from left, Marcia Enman, manager of La Voix acadienne, Atlantic Bioheat (represented by owner Dick Arsenault), the Wellington Royal Canadian Legion (represented by president David Gallant), and Nico Durant, owner of LaFun, Durant Metals,and Nico Durant Inc. They are accompanied by RDÉE PEI president Christian Lacroix, Lieutenant Governor Antoinette Perry and Chamber spokesperson Pierre Gallant.

PHOTO 2: Chamber spokesperson Pierre Gallant explained that this year’s awards competition, placed special emphasis on sustainable development for all categories.


PHOTO: On behalf of the sponsor The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Egmont MP Robert Morrisey, right, and Pierre Gallant, spokesperson of the Acadian Chamber, presented the 2022 Business of Excellence Award to Dick Arsenault from Atlantic Bioheat.

Atlantic Bioheat (Dick Arsenault)

For the past 16 years, Atlantic Bioheat has been working towards sustainable development in a new way: heating buildings using a more environmentally responsible method. Founded in 2006 by Dick Arsenault of Abram-Village, the company specializes in the installation and maintenance of industrial-commercial wood chip furnaces. These chips are produced from wood waste, sourced from local partners, resulting in the recycling of natural materials while filling a very important community need.

Atlantic Bioheat is currently responsible for heating 20 buildings, the majority of which are schools, hospitals or manors. Some of the furnaces are owned by the company and others by the provincial government. Atlantic Bioheat currently has a 20-year contract with the province to sell the heat produced by these furnaces. A second 10-year provincial contract mandates the company to install, maintain and supply wood chips to three other furnaces. These modern furnaces are operated with advanced technology. By logging into the system with their cell phones, the five Atlantic Bioheat employees can see the status of all the furnaces at any time and perform maintenance as needed.

Arsenault wears many hats in his business and is continually striving to improve his community and the environment. It’s been said that one minute he’s working in his office running the business and the next minute he’s jumping in his truck to help with manual labor. This shows an entrepreneurial dedication that the community can be proud of.

As he accepted his trophy, Arsenault said it takes workers around him and a supportive family to operate a business of this type. He therefore thanked them sincerely.

Also competing for this award was the zero-waste store Monsieur Vrac (Israël Poulin) of Charlottetown and the community newspaper La Voix acadienne of Summerside.

PHOTO: From left, the sponsor Derek Bondt from Key Murray Law helps to present finalist certificates for the 2022 Business of Excellence Award to Dick Arsenault from Atlantic Bioheat, Enio Rodriguez and Rocio Celeste Guzman from the Monsieur Vrac store and Béatrice Cailliée from La Voix acadienne. Robyn Gallant, board member of RDÉE PEI and the Acadian Chamber, helped with the presentations.


PHOTO: Award sponsor Dan MacDonald from MacDonald Insurance & Investments (The Co-operators), right, and the Acadian Chamber spokersperson Pierre Gallant presented the 2022 Social Economy Business Award to the Wellington Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 17, represented by manager Mike Gallant and president David Gallant.

Wellington Royal Canadian Legion (Branch 17)

Since 1946, the Wellington Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 17, has played a very important role in the community. It was originally established to provide essential support to veterans in the community. Many volunteers sell poppies each fall to raise awareness in the community about the tremendous contribution of our veterans and the importance of remembering them. The branch holds Remembrance Day ceremonies every November. Two impressive symbols of remembrance located on the grounds are its cenotaph and a tank.

The Legion serves over 230 members and is one of the strongest of the 17 branches on the Island. It provides a community gathering place where one can play cards, pool, darts, shuffleboard or games of chance, while enjoying a drink in a friendly atmosphere. A large community hall is available for weddings, banquets, meetings, dances and performances.

The organization shares most of its profits in the form of scholarships and donations. Notably, it presented $50,000 to Le Chez-Nous Co-operative for its recent expansion.

A few years ago, the branch expanded to become a designated gathering place and shelter for community emergencies. It was able to respond to the call when a fire forced the evacuation of the Chez-Nous community care facilty in 2021.

And, since the start of the pandemic, the Legion has been providing quiet spaces with high-speed Internet connections for people to telework.

Also competing for this award were the community newspaper La Voix acadienne in Summerside and the Wellington Co-op grocery store.

PHOTO: RDÉE PEI’s community board member Edmond Gallant, left, helped present certificates to the finalists of the 2022 Social Economy Business category: Mike Gallant, manager of the Wellington Royal Canadian Legion, grocery manager David Perry and president Julie Arsenault of the Wellington Co-op, and Béatrice Cailliée, president of La Voix acadienne. The sponsor Desmond Arsenault, president of the Baie Acadienne Development Corporation, helped with the presentations.


PHOTO: Marcia Enman, manager of Le Voix acadienne, received her 2022 Distinguished Employee Award from Pierre Gallant, spokesperson of the Acadian Chamber, and Ernie Hudson, minister of Health and Wellbeing, who was representing sponsor Innovation PEI.

Marcia Enman (La Voix acadienne)

Marcia Enman’s name is incredibly well known, not only here on Prince Edward Island but in many other francophone communities and in the media across the country. Entering her 44th year of service at La Voix Acadienne, manager Marcia is often described as an energetic, dedicated, expert, ambitious, caring and innovative employee. Dozens of awards and recognitions, and more than a hundred nominations, have been bestowed upon La Voix acadienne under Marcia’s leadership.

Marcia’s passion has enabled her to support the Island’s Francophone community in many ways. She works to include not only francophone and dedicated clients, but also the Francophile community – through various support programs with immersion schools – as well as the Anglophone community, with her regular stint, The Acadian Beat, on CBC radio (in English).

Her board of directors wishes that it would be able to bottle up her energy and creativity. Marcia always has countless projects in mind and solutions to offer. In the midst of a global pandemic, Marcia has innovated and found funding; she has developed new projects and identified new directions for the newspaper so that she did not have to lay off a single employee. It is because of her efforts and leadership that La Voix Acadienne had its best fiscal year ever last year.

In addition to all her accomplishments, Marcia also remains an extremely humble, kind and helpful person who is involved at all levels of her beloved community, including the municipal level. (Enman was the sole finalist in this category.)

As she accepted her trophy, Enman said she has been working for the newspaper for the past 44 years since she adores what she does and that she wouldn’t be there is she didn’t. With a smile, she noted that she’s not sure that she’ll have a 77-year career, as did one of the other winners of the evening. She congratulated the young finalists of the evening for their entrepreneurial efforts.

PHOTO: Dr. Christian Lacroix, president of RDÉE PEI and RDÉE Canada, two of the evening’s major sponsors, along with Sophie MacDonald, entrepreneurial board member with RDÉE PEI, presented a certificate to the lone finalist of the 2022 Distinguished Employee Award, Marcia Enman.


PHOTO: Nico Durant of Mont-Carmel, who has owned three businesses throughout his youth, graciously accepted the 2022 Young Enterprising Person Award from Acadian Chamber spokesperson Pierre Gallant, and Tara Simmonds, treasurer of the award sponsor, CBDC Central PEI.

Nico Durant – LaFun, Durant Metals and Nico Durant Inc.

Teenaged Mont-Carmel resident Nico Durant is an impressive example for young and old alike. He is undeniable proof that hard work and tenacity lead to success. Although he will only be graduating from École Évangéline in June, this young man has been exploring many local entrepreneurial options for years and has been successful in his endeavours. While participating in the Young Millionaires program, Nico won the 2015 Young Millionaire Award for his business LaFun.

Since then, Nico has been working extremely hard and managing quite a schedule. In addition to being a full-time student, he works part-time at Canadian Tire in Summerside and owns two businesses: Durant Metals and Nico Durant Inc. Durant Metals sells outdoor wood stoves that Nico produces by welding together old car wheels.

Nico Durant Inc. is a lawn mowing business. He has grown the business from one contract in 2018 to 50 service contracts in 2021. Nico manages four part-time employees and has invested in a quality mower. As the owner, Nico handles scheduling, contracts and finances for both of his businesses.

Besides overseeing all this work, Nico is also an active volunteer in his community with organizations such as Les Jeux de l’Acadie. He is also an athlete on swimming, soccer and ball field hockey teams. Nico plans to pursue his studies in business administration.

In his acceptance comments, Nico thanked his mentors, his supporters and the Young Millionaires Program for having sparked his interest in entrepreneurship when he was still a child.

Also nominated for this award was young Cape Egmont fiddler and volunteer Gilbert Arsenault.

PHOTO: Bonnie Gallant, executive director a RDÉE PEI, presented a certificate from the 2022 Young Enterprising Person Award to Ruth Arsenault, mother of absent finalist Gilbert Arsenault. Young multi-entrepreneur Nico Durant accepted his certificate from Robert Maddix, who represented award sponsor Clientis from Québec.


PHOTO: Jolène Gallant, owner of Red Rock Jewelry of Abram-Village, received her Young Millionaires 2021 Award during the Acadian Entrepreneurs’ Gala from Chamber spokesperson Pierre Gallant and Denis Duchesne, representing sponsor Radio-Canada Acadie.

Jolène Gallant – Red Rock Jewelry

Jolène Gallant, who is 13 years old and from the Evangeline area, certainly exceeded all expectations last summer with her business, Red Rock Jewelry. In addition to actively participating in every training session and sales event offered by the Young Millionaires program, she also filled online orders and offered custom orders.

Her entrepreneurial career dates back a few years as she started her first business called JOGA Creations when she was 10 years old. This first business produced unique bottles and vases as well as natural bath bombs. With her new business, Red Rock Jewelry, Jolene is adding fascinating and unique jewelry – like bracelets, rings and earrings – as well as bottles and a few other handcrafted products.

This kind of success doesn’t come easily because it’s a lot of work to run one’s own business. However, Jolène likes to work hard. With more and more sales each season, she is looking forward to continuing in the program this summer.

Jolene impressed the Young Millionaires program coordinating team with her vibrant and outgoing personality. This Grade 7 student at École Évangéline has always been open to hearing advice and suggestions. Her growth as an entrepreneur has been described as inspiring. With her energy and enthusiasm for her work, it is certain that Jolene will continue to shine in any project she takes on.