ABRAM-VILLAGE – March 3, 2022 – Quince Pottery (La Poterie du Coing), the small business operated by Marie-Paul Medeiros and Jacob Mathieu of Malpeque, will now be able to grow considerably since its owners have just won the championship of the 2022 Francophone Ignition Contest, RDÉE Prince Edward Island’s annual entrepreneurial development competition.
The duo, extremely happy to have won the competition, will use the $25,000 investment they won at the March 2 competition to purchase a pottery kiln and other equipment, dig an artesian well, expand their workshop, set up a sales boutique and develop a website with an online sales system.
The couple developed their artistic talents in Quebec and British Columbia over the years. In 2020, they settled in Malpeque with their four children. They converted the old village blacksmith shop, located on their property, into a studio. They produce a variety of modern pottery pieces (straight lines, light colors, Japanese influence) for a young and urban clientele, compared to the traditional style usually found on the Island. They sell their products in a display counter by their home, at the Summerside Farmers’ Market and online (Etsy). They now also plan to offer pottery workshops for people who would like to paint and decorate their own creations. Their children are constantly at their side learning this art form and even selling their own products.
The judges – entrepreneurs Claudette Thériault and Gilles Arsenault and banker Alfred Arsenault – determined that Mathieu and Medeiros’ project had the most potential for success and would benefit the most from a $25,000 injection. This investment came from Innovation PEI’s Ignition Start-Up Fund. For this reason, Mathieu Foran, Innovation PEI’s Bilingual Cultural Development Officer, attended the competition finals in Abram-Village to present the cheque to the champions.
The winning duo also received free one-year memberships from the Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce, as well as a free business course from the Collège de l’Île.
The Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of PEI presented free memberships to Quince Pottery as well as to the other two finalists, Fusion Gift Boxes by Solange Aké and The BeLIVING Way by Mélanie Dufour.
The first competitor of the evening, Solange Aké of Stratford, founder of Distinct Magic Decor, explained that she had recently added a new division to her business, Fusion Gift Boxes. It is a service that prepares and sells gift boxes containing a selection of products from Atlantic Canada, as well as colorful items with a French and West African flavor (such as table runners from the Ivory Coast, aprons, bathrobes, etc.) These boxes can be customized, depending on the needs and budgets. She considers her main market to be the corporate and organizational sector, but she also offers boxes for individuals who want to give gifts to loved ones. If she had won the investment, she would have hired consultants to prepare her strategic plan, developed a marketing plan to better promote her brand and purchased inventory.
The second competitor was Mélanie Dufour of Tignish, who has been an entrepreneur and holistic health practitioner for several years. Certified and accredited in various health therapies (coach, Reiki master, advanced breathing therapy and meditation), she is the founder of The Glow Juicery PEI and The Recovery Studio in Summerside. She is looking to consolidate all her naturopathic, coaching, juice and other health services under a new brand name, The BeLIVING Way, and to add new products. The goal is to offer clients holistic and personalized programs, products and therapies under four pillars: mental health/wellness, physical, spiritual and activity. All of this would be managed from a web platform (a kind of one-stop shop) on which other wellness service providers could promote their services. She would have spent the investment on platform development, renovations, marketing and signage.
The coordination and promotion of the event was made possible through contributions from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and RDÉE Prince Edward Island.
PHOTO 1: The champion family from Quince Pottery (La Poterie du Coing), champions of RDÉE PEI’s 2022 Francophone Ignition Contest, are seen with some of their creations. In the front row are Félicité (8 years old) and Augustin (4 years old). In the back row, Mathieu Foran, Innovation PEI’s bilingual cultural development officer, presented the championship cheque to Victoria (13 years old), parent-owners Marie-Paul Medeiros and Jacob Mathieu, and Théodore (11 years old).
PHOTO 2: Judges Gilles Arsenault, Claudette Thériault and Alfred Arsenault had their hands full trying to figure out who should be the winner of the 2022 Francophone Ignition Contest, considering the competition’s three excellent finalists.
PHOTO 3: Solange Aké presents her business project Fusion Gift Boxes during the finals of the Francophone Ignition Contest.
PHOTO 4: Mélanie Dufour talks about her project of regrouping her wellness services under the brand The BeLIVING Way during the contest finals.
PHOTO 5: Manu Nécaise, program manager at the Collège de l’Île, presents a certificate for free college business courses to the champions of the 2022 Francophone Ignition Contest, Marie-Paul Medeiros and Jacob Mathieu.
PHOTO 6: Tara Maddix, executive director of the Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce, presented a free one-year membership to the winners of the 2022 Francophone Ignition Contest, Marie-Paul Medeiros and Jacob Mathieu.
PHOTO 7: Robert Godfrey, executive director of the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of of Commerce, presented a free one-year membership to the winners of the 2022 Francophone Ignition Contest, Marie-Paul Medeiros and Jacob Mathieu.
PHOTO 8: Raymond J. Arsenault, events coordinator of the Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of PEI, presented free one-year memberships to the three finalists of the 2022 Francophone Ignition Contest: Solange Aké from Fusion Gift Boxes, Mélanie Dufour from The BeLIVING Way, and Marie-Paul Medeiros and Jacob Mathieu from Quincy Pottery.
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2022 Francophone Ignition Competition