Francophone Ignition Contest to fly solo in 2020

Still offers $25,000 prize for business startup

SUMMERSIDE – Oct. 15, 2019 – The Francophone Ignition Contest, which will once again offer a $25,000 prize for the best entrepreneurial project presented during a « Dragons’ Den » or “Shark Tank” type competition, will fly solo next year.

In launching a call for participants for the 2020 version of the contest, coordinator Julie Gallant announced Oct. 15 that the event will be held independently of the Entrepreneurs’ Gala for the first time ever.

« This will be the sixth time that RDÉE Prince Edward Island has presented a competition for entrepreneurial projects of this type, » she points out. « We consider that the contest is now known and respected enough to attract its own crowd, without having to rely on a joint activity to attract an audience. »

The coordinator indicated during the Entrepreneurs’ and Co-operators’ Breakfast that this new approach will give judges more time to ask questions to competitors since the event won’t have to limit itself to just an hour, as has been the case in recent years.

The contest final will be held Thursday, March 5, at 7 p.m. in the Salle Entre-deux-mers at the Centre Belle-Alliance in Summerside, rather than in the gymnasium. « This beautiful room is much more comfortable than the gym and offers a much better quality of sound and lighting. While the judges are deliberating, we can serve a small snack and introduce musicians to entertain the crowd. This is precisely what we needed to increase the visibility of our competition. »


The Francophone Ignition Contest is open to Francophone or bilingual entrepreneurs wishing to set up a new business, launch a new product or service or expand into a new production line.

The coordinator pointed out that the product or service offered must be offered in both of the country’s official languages and the company must set up shop in Prince Edward Island. At least one of the company’s owners must be able to do business in French and make his or her contest presentation in that language. The product or service developed must have the potential for exportation outside the Island.

Companies that have already won an Ignition award (from the RDÉE or the province) are not eligible; however, the winners of the former RDÉE Dragons’ Contest are.

Gallant added 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 then compete in the grand finale on March 5; each will have seven minutes to present their project idea (using product samples, on-screen images and verbal explanations) to a national panel of entrepreneurial experts. The judges will then decide to invest the cash prize in the project they believe has the greatest potential for success.

In addition to the $25,000 grand prize (which will be reimbursed upon presentation of receipts), the winner will also receive several gifts, such as free memberships in the Charlottetown and Summerside Chambers of Commerce and the Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of the PEI as well as free business courses at the Collège de l’Île. The winning project will receive great media publicity.


Those interested in participating need only download the application form from by January 18, 2020.

For the second year in a row, the cash prize comes from Innovation PEI’s Ignition Start-Up Fund. « We very much appreciate the fact that the province is providing us with one of the prizes from its Ignition competition, » added the coordinator.

Any requests for additional information can be directed to Gallant at or 902-854-3439, ext. 227.


CUTLINE : Julie Gallant, left, coordinator of the new Francophone Ignition Competition, and Bonnie Gallant, executive director of RDÉE Prince Edward Island, officially launched the new edition of their business start-up competition on Tuesday, Oct. 15, in Summerside.
For more information:
Julie Gallant
Coordinator of the Francophone Ignition Contest
902-854-3439, Ext. 227