ABRAM-VILLAGE – March 3, 2023 – The dynamic duo of Geneviève Ouellette of Rollo Bay and Brent Chaisson of Miscouche impressed the judges the most at the finals of the 2023 Francophone Ignition Contest and earned a handsome investment of $25,000 to further develop their bilingual audio-visual production company, “On y va! Média”.
From the audience’s perspective at these March 2nd finals, organized by RDÉE Prince Edward Island and held in Abram-Village, the competition seemed extremely close. The other two finalist projects seemed equally viable; they were a high-end fashion producer and retailer, Swenn Workshops Inc. by Kristell Geffroy of Charlottetown, and a potato grating company, Spud Ventures Inc. by Marc Bastarache of Freetown. Each of their seven-minute presentations and their 10-minute question-and-answer periods, in the style of the TV shows Shark Tank and Dragons’ Den, all seemed to be quite compelling.
The judges for the finals were Alfred Arsenault, chief operating officer of the Provincial Credit Union’s 10 branches, Char Doherty, owner of Mini Acres Farm and former owner of Chez Char restaurant, and Claus Schmidt, co-owner of MaiYa Pearls and general manager of CBDC Central PEI in Summerside. Their task was to select the entrepreneurial project they felt had the greatest potential of success.
The jury deliberated for approximately 40 minutes (10 minutes longer than expected) to arrive at its final choice. Among the facts that helped “On y va ! Média” (which loosely translates to “Let’s Go! Media”): Brent Chaisson has 20 years of experience as a sound engineer while Geneviève Ouellette has been a designer and educator for many years. Both are musicians. They are building their business by producing documentary videos, music videos and other videos that they call promotional, informational, educational and entertainment tools. Their services range from filming to final editing and mastering, including all dimensions of sound (Chaisson also owns a recording studio). The company also offers video and aerial photography services, with drone equipment and license.
With the new funding they have just received, Ouellette and Chaisson plan to purchase new video and lighting equipment, bags and boxes to move their equipment, a trailer to transport their equipment, production software and promotional material.
The gentle life-and-business partners wore ear-to-ear smiles at the end of the evening as they accepted the investment cheque from Innovation PEI’s business development officer, Steve Reaman. In fact, the $25,000 came from his department’s Ignition Startup Fund.
The champions also received a free membership to the Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce, free advertising in the Connections magazine that is published by the Greater Charlottetown and Area Chamber of Commerce and a college course of their choice at the Collège de l’Île. In addition, all three finalists received a free one-year membership to the Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of PEI and a finalist certificate from RDÉE Prince Edward Island.
The 2023 edition of the Francophone Ignition Contest attracted nine competitors. The first two decided to withdraw from the competition. The seven who remained participated in an intense weekend of training to help them better understand and set up their finances and present their entrepreneurial project effectively in a competition like this one. A pre-selection process (in front of another panel of judges) then narrowed the field down to the three finalists for the last round of competition.
The coordination and promotion of the 2023 Francophone Ignition Contest was funded by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and RDÉE Prince Edward Island.
PHOTO 1: Geneviève Ouellette and Brent Chaisson from “On y va! Media” graciously accept the $25,000 investment they receive as champions of the Francophone Ignition Contest from Steve Reaman, business development officer from Innovation PEI.
PHOTO 2: Judges for the 2023 Francophone Ignition Contest finals on March 2 were, from left, Alfred Arsenault of Provincial Credit Union, Claus Schmidt of MaiYa Pearls and CBDC Central PEI and Char Doherty of Mini Acres Farm and formerly of Chez Char.
PHOTO 3: Bonnie Gallant, left, executive director of RDÉE PEI, congratulates the owners of the three businesses competing in the Francophone Ignition Contest by presenting them with finalist certificates. They are Marc Bastarache of Spud Ventures Inc., Kristell Geffroy of Swenn Workshops Inc. and champions Geneviève Ouellette and Brent Chaisson of “On y va! Media”.
PHOTO 4: Jessica Cormier, right, event and marketing manager for the Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce, presents a free one-year membership to the champions of the 2023 Francophone Ignition Contest, Geneviève Ouellette and Brent Chaisson of “On y va ! Média”.
PHOTO 5: Robert Maddix, right, on behalf of the Greater Charlottetown and Area Chamber of Commerce, presents a half-page of free advertising in the Chamber’s Connections magazine to winners Geneviève Ouellette and Brent Chaisson of “On y va ! Média”.
PHOTO 6: Darlene Arsenault, right, interim president and CEO of Collège de l’Île, presents a certificate for a free college course to Francophone Ignition Contest champions Geneviève Ouellette and Brent Chaisson of “On y va ! Média”.
PHOTO 7: Raymond J. Arsenault, right, event coordinator with the Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of PEI, presents free one-year memberships to the three finalists of the 2023 Francophone Ignition Contest: from left, Marc Bastarache of Spud Ventures Inc. and Kristell Geffroy of Les Ateliers Swenn Inc., as well as champions Geneviève Ouellette and Brent Chaisson of “On y va ! Média”.
PHOTO 8: Contestant Kristell Geffroy shows the judges some examples of the clothing she produces to sell online and in her store at Swenn Workshops Inc. in Charlottetown. In fact, the clothing she is wearing was produced by her company.
PHOTO 9: Competitor Marc Bastarache of Spud Ventures Inc. explains how his machine grates potatoes, removing the peel and water and thereby reducing the volume of the product that is transported out of province by 70 per cent.
PHOTO 10: Amy Richard did a great job hosting the finals of the 2023 Francophone Ignition Contest.
For more information, please contact:
Francophone Ignition Contest