BRUDENELL, PEI – June 3, 2014 – A young man from Mont-Carmel looking to develop his artisan cheese-making operation was recently named champion of the first francophone Dragons’ Contest for young entrepreneurs, organized by RDÉE Prince Edward Island.
Before more than 110 participants at the Forum on Economic Immigration in Brudenell May 27, Gallant presented his expansion project to the contest judges or “dragons”: entrepreneurs Henri Gallant from HMS Office Supplies and Jeannette Arsenault from Cavendish Figurines as well as Audrey Lafontaine from the Canadian Youth Business Foundation.
All three judges said they were quite impressed by Gallant’s project as well as by the proposals presented by the two other finalists, Georgina Bassett of Charlottetown who wants to establish an incubator centre for immigrant entrepreneurs (named VIBE) and Miguel Arsenault who wishes to expand his chip timing service for runs and marathons (named Ready2Race).
First of all, folks may remember that Mathieu Gallant was the one who instigated the idea of having an episode of the TV show La Petite Séduction taped in the Evangeline region a few years ago. He eventually became the coordinator of the project.
The son of dairy farmers Johnny and Louise Gallant of St. Timothy, Mathieu benefitted from two internships in cheese making in France and in Quebec. He also took a course in that field at the PEI Food Technology Centre in Charlottetown as well as other training on adding value to agricultural products.
He then built his own cheese vat in 2012 and tried several test runs using milk from the family farm. With The Island Artisan Cheesehouse, Gallant plans to produce his brie curds in fairly small quantities – 880 kilograms a month – within the next two years. At present, 60-70 per cent of his facilities are set up.
He is considering the possibility of getting his cheese certified as organic and Omega 3-rich since he would be able to attain that status by completely controlling the food that the cows on his family’s farm eat.
Gallant expects to be able to sell his product to about 30 of the more than 200 points of sale on the Island. He has no intention of competing with the big producers; he just wants to capture a small niche market with a product that is not currently available on PEI.
All three judges lauded Gallant’s project but Audrey Lafontaine noted that the Canadian Youth Business Foundation would be quite interested in financing his project. It should be noted that the foundation offers low-interest loans of up to $45,000 to young start-up businesses.
In addition to receiving the championship trophy, Gallant also received a free one-year membership to the Greater Charlottetown Chamber of Commerce
All finalists received a tablet, a computer bag, a lunch bag and ear buds as competitor prizes.
CUTLINE: Mathieu Gallant, champion of RDÉE PEI’s Dragons’ Contest, receives his trophy from the “dragon” and spokesperson of the Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of PEI, Jeannette Arsenault.
For more information:
Coordinator of the Dragons’ Contest
(902) 370-7333, Ext. 402