Three competitors selected for grand finale of 2024 Francophone Ignition Contest

ABRAM-VILLAGE – Feb. 10, 2024 – A documentary filmmaker, a mental and physical health care specialist and a special events organizer will be competing for a respectable $25,000 investment in their new entrepreneurial project on Saturday, March 2, at 7 p.m. during the finals of RDÉE Prince Edward Island’s 2024 Francophone Ignition Contest.

This grand evening of competition, presented in the style of the TV shows « Shark Tank » and « Dragons’ Den », will take place at the Village musical acadien in Abram-Village. The public is invited to attend, free of charge and in large numbers. A snack will be served during the judges’ deliberations.

The champion project – the one presented by Hélène Lebon of Productions LTDU in New Haven, by Josée Gallant-Gordon of Elm Grove Centre Mental Health Services in Alma or by Marie Dubé and Cole Whiteway of Timeless Events PEI Inc. in Cavendish – will also receive a series of other rewards to support his or her entrepreneurial journey.

The Greater Charlottetown and Area Chamber of Commerce will contribute a free half-page ad in its Connections magazine, the Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce will give a free one-year membership, Collège de l’Île will offer a free college course, and the Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of PEI will provide a free pair of tickets to the 2024 Entrepreneurs’ Gala (March 16). The Acadian Chamber will also be awarding a free one-year membership to the three finalists.

The Francophone Ignition Contest initially attracted six competitors. Two withdrew from the competition. The remaining four took part in a recent weekend of intense training and attended the pre-selection day on Saturday, Feb. 10. Judges Alcide Bernard (retired organization and business manager), Mathieu Foran (bilingual cultural development officer with Innovation PEI) and Erika Naruwaza (special projects manager with CBDC Central PEI) heard the competitors’ seven-minute pitches, asked them questions, deliberated, and selected the three they considered had the most potential for success.

The three finalists will compete one last time on March 2 before the public and three new judges, all from the world of business or finance. They will again have seven minutes to pitch their project, using samples and/or large-screen presentations. The judges will ask them further probing questions to give them the chance to prove that their business development or expansion project is the most deserving of the monetary investment.

Following the snack and deliberations, the champion will be announced and presented with his or her prizes by the sponsors.

The Francophone Ignition Contest is made possible by contributions from Innovation PEI’s Ignition Start-Up Fund and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.



PHOTO MONTAGE: The three finalists in the 2024 Francophone Ignition Contest are Josée Gallant-Gordon of Elm Grove Centre Mental Health Services in Alma, Hélène Lebon of Productions LTDU in New Haven, as well as Cole Whiteway and Marie Dubé of Timeless Events PEI Inc. in Cavendish. They will compete in the grand finale on Saturday, March 2, at the Village musical acadien in Abram-Village.

PHOTO 2: Judges for the preselection were Erika Naruwaza, Alcide Bernard and Mathieu Foran.


For further information, please contact:
Alecia Arsenault, coordinator
Francophone Ignition Contest



Productions LTDU – Hélène Lebon: With her business partner Mario Courchesne, New Haven’s Hélène Lebon founded Productions LTDU last summer, a production house for documentaries, shorts and features for television, digital or theatrical release. In addition to the video medium, the catalog of works produced extends to audio, textual and visual media. The company’s mandate is to produce documentaries, written publications and visual arts that tell stories, those of an inclusive, multicultural and francophone Canada. Ignition Contest funds would be used primarily to develop and pitch documentary projects, produce and distribute new content (podcasts, short documentaries), and strengthen the company’s visibility (including via a website and social media).

Elm Grove Centre Mental Health Services – Josée Gallant-Gordon: Josée Gallant-Gordon, who has been working in the mental health field since 2008, wants to further develop her Elm Grove Centre in Alma to include a new somatic retreat experience with body and cognitive intervention, with a mental health curriculum, in a yurt (a circular tent) in the forest. This would involve intensive care, including specialized treatment for managing symptoms of anxiety, depression and trauma. Services such as counseling, equine therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy could also be integrated. All would be delivered by the center’s year-round team of licensed clinicians. Ignition funds would be used to purchase a yurt, prepare the land for its installation and prepare the specialized curriculum.

Timeless Events PEI Inc. – Marie Dubé and Cole Whiteway: Timeless Events PEI, established in the spring of 2023 by Marie Dubé and her husband Cole Whiteway, offers a variety of event planning services (weddings, birthdays, corporate events and more). The duo works closely with clients to understand their vision. The firm can help with decorating, planning and/or coordination. Its brand image is young and dynamic, but the company also wants to shows its level of experience and capabilities. Marie holds a bachelor’s degree in event planning and is currently completing her Wedding Planner, Coordinator and Consultant certification. The duo has over 10 years’ experience in customer service. Ignition funds would help complete their website as well as purchase various administrative software, uniforms, event decorations and a small warehouse.