Tough job ahead for three judges of Francophone Ignition Contest finals

SUMMERSIDE – Feb. 21, 2020 – “The judges of the grand finale of our 2020 Francophone Ignition Contest 2020 on Thursday, March 5th, will certainly not have an easy task as they evaluate the entrepreneurial expansion projects of our three finalists to determine the $25,000 winner,” says coordinator Julie Gallant.

“Luckily, our three judges are well versed in finance and business, as two of them – Marc Côté of Cape Egmont and Kirk Muise of Moncton, NB – are bankers and the other one, Linda Lowther of Cavendish, has been a business manager and owner for many years.”

The coordinator added that Côté and Lowther will both be judging the contest for a second time but that Muise is brand new to RDÉE Prince Edward Island’s entrepreneurial project competition.

“I certainly wouldn’t want to be in their shoes because our three finalists will all present fantastic projects that are all equally deserving: an online store for the sale of vinyl records (Ghislaine Cormier of Charlottetown), equipment for the ongoing development of a cider mill (Sebastian Manago of Caledonia) and renovated facilities for an equine therapy service for groups of children (Josée Gallant-Gordon d’Alma).”

The public is invited to come and see the finals of the contest, free of charge, starting at 7 p.m. in the Entre-deux-mers Room at the Centre Belle-Alliance in Summerside. Each contestant will have only seven minutes to present his or her project, using samples and an audiovisual presentation, in the style of the programs “Dragons’ Den” and “Shark Tank. The judges will then ask them several questions. While the judges deliberate, a snack will be served and Rémi Arsenault and Caroline Bernard will provide musical entertainment. The winner’s name will then be announced; he or she will then receive the large cheque from the Innovation PEI’s Ignition Start-Up Fund and other prizes.


A citizen of Dieppe, NB, Kirk Muise is vice-president of commercial financial services for RBC for Eastern New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. A business graduate from Cape Breton University, Kirk joined RBC in 1996. He held a variety of senior management positions before being appointed to his current position in May 2018. An avid volunteer, Kirk is primarily involved with United Way campaigns and various health-related causes. He is a member of Greater Moncton’s “100 Men Who Care” group. He received RBC’s most prestigious award, the Leo Award in recognition of his community leadership in 2016.

Linda Lowther has had a long career in teaching and educational administration with the PEI Department of Education. But throughout her life, she and her family have operated several tourism businesses (rental cottages, restaurants, naturist resorts, gas station/garage). After retiring from the province in 2011, Lowther started her own consulting firm called The Lowther Group, which specializes in projects related to education and tourism. A member of the 100 Women Who Care group, Lowther volunteers extensively, including with the municipality of Cavendish and various tourism organizations.

While working in a bank, Marc Côté completed his Bachelor of Administration at the University of New Brunswick in 2005. He moved to the Island in 2009 to work at Évangéline-Central Credit Union. He started as a financial services officer, focusing on member relations and promoting sustainable financial solutions. Still at the credit union, he has been working in risk management since 2015. He is also a project manager, working with the management team on a series of strategic initiatives for the organization. This accredited lender is also a member of the Credit Union Institute of Canada.



PHOTOS: The judges for the 2020 edition of the Francophone Ignition Contest are Marc Côté, Linda Lowther and Kirk Muise.


For more information :
Julie Gallant
Francophone Ignition Francophone
902-854-3439, ext. 227