2016 Acadian Entrepreneurs Gala honours seven entrepreneurs, businesses and co-ops

gagnants gala 2016 lowers

SUMMERSIDE – March 13, 2016 – Seven Francophone or bilingual entrepreneurs, businesses and co-operatives from PEI have just been honored and awarded for their great services and products as well as their magnificent contributions to the Island economy and their community.

The Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of PEI (CCAFLIPE) presented these seven awards during the 2016 Acadian Entrepreneurs’ Gala, before a crowd of 142 people at the Centre Belle-Alliance in Summerside Saturday, March 12. A record of 26 nominations had been received for these awards, including the brand-new 2016 Immigrant Entrepreneur Award. The prestigious evening, featuring an array of colors, images and ceremonies, marked the 15th edition of the popular Gala.

The 2016 winners are:

  • 2016 PRESIDENT’S AWARD OF EXCELLENCE: Foulkes Productions (Darin Foulkes), Charlottetown
  • 2016 DISTINGUED ENTREPRENEUR AWARD: Italo Marzari (Sirenella Ristorante), Charlottetown
  • 2016 IMMIGRANT ENTREPRENEUR AWARD: Laure Solange Pchamdja (Aldanel Authentic Products), Charlottetown
  • 2016 CO-OP OF THE YEAR: La Coopérative de développement culturel et patrimonial de Mont-Carmel
  • 2016 BUSINESS WOMAN OF THE YEAR: Sylvette Morneau (Mom’s Woodshop), Hunter River
  • 2016 YOUNG ENTERPRISING PERSON OF THE YEAR: Eliott Fraser and Michael MacEwen (Simply Sno-Cones), Charlottetown
  • 2015 YOUNG MILLIONAIRES AWARD: Nico Durant (LaFun), Mont-Carmel.

« As always, we, the people in this room and in the community, are the real winners since we are the ones who benefit from your exceptional products and services, » said Chamber spokesman Martin Marcoux in his welcome message. « Congratulations and thank you so much for your magnificent contribution to the Island community. We are extremely proud of you. »

He added that the selection committees had their hands full trying to choose winners since all the nominees contribute so much to their communities, including creating jobs and supporting community events.

The 2016 Acadian Entrepreneurs Gala was made possible through major sponsorships from RDÉE Prince Edward Island, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Innovation PEI, RDÉE Canada, CBDC Central PEI, Evangeline-Central Credit Union, Radio-Canada Acadie and the LIENS project. Secondary sponsors were the Wellington Rural Action Center, The Co-operators (Mike Bradley Insurance Services Ltd.), RBC and Pro Max 2000.


CUTLINE: The winners at the Acadian Entrepreneurs’ Gala, held Saturday in Summerside, were, from left, Laure Solange Pchamdja from Aldanel Authentic Products in Charlottetown (2016 Immigrant Entrepreneur); Darin Foulkes from Folkes Productions of Charlottetown (2016 President’s Award of Excellence); Sylvette Morneau from Mom’s Woodshop in Hunter River (2016 Business Woman of the Year); Nico Durant of LaFun in Mont-Carmel (2015 Young Millionaires Award); Michael MacEwen from Simply Sno-Cones of Charlottetown (2016 Young Enterprising Person of the Year); Velma Robichaud, representing Italo Marzari of Sirenella Ristorante in Charlottetown (2016 Distinguished Entrepreneur), and Edmond Gallant from La Coopérative de développement culturel et patrimonial de Mont-Carmel (2016 Co-op of the Year).

For more information:
Raymond J. Arsenault, coordinator
Acadian Entrepreneurs’ Gala
(902) 854-3439, Ext. 231




Foulkes Productions (Darin Foulkes), Charlottetown

darin foulkes - prix d'excellence lowresDarin Foulkes of Charlottetown began his career as a cameraman, video editor and graphic artist; he worked for various TV news shows, including CBC News’ Compass. In 2005, Foulkes established his own business, called Foulkes Productions, at first focusing primarily on filming and producing TV commercials for local businesses. Over the years, as he expanded his scope, his work was broadcast on various television channels, including Mid Canada TV, CBC, CTV, GlobalTV, the Outdoor Network and CPAC. In recent years, he has been producing various promotional videos, in high definition, mostly for the Internet; he has won several awards for his work. Among his most recent clients are the Coopérative d’intégration francophone, the Collège Acadie Î.-P.-É., the PERCÉ internship program and the PEI Department of Education. (Other finalists in this category were Robert Poirier’s Acadian Roofing from St. Raphael and Perry’s Electric, owned by Robert Perry of Tignish.)

In the photo, Deborah Doucette from ACOA and Martin Marcoux from the Acadian Chamber, right, present the trophy to Darin Foulkes of Foulkes Productions.

Italo Marzari (Sirenella Ristorante), Charlottetown

italo entrep distingue lowresAfter immigrating to Canada in 1967, Italo Marzari climbed every step of the restaurateur ladder, from busboy to maître d’, in Québec and Ontario, before establishing his own restaurants in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. He arrived on PEI to teach at the Atlantic Culinary Institute in 1990. Then, in 1992, in Charlottetown, he opened a fine dining establishment called Sirenella Ristorante, offering authentic Italian fare and specializing in seafood. Thanks to his fantastic culinary creations and his magnificent wines, Sirenella became one of the most popular restaurants on PEI. He won numerous awards. He was invited to cook with and for Quebec TV star Marina Orsini on the TV show La Petite séduction a few years ago. Marzari announced his retirement last November, much to the chagrin of his many fans. (Other finalists in this category were Ernest Arsenault from Arsenault Painters in Urbainville and retiree Euclide Gallant of Towerside Farm of Urbainville.)

In the photo, Velma Robichaud accepts the trophy on behalf of Italo Marzari. Presenting the trophy are Sonny Gallant, representing the province, and Martin Marcoux, reprsenting the Acadian Chamber.

Laure Solange Pchamdja (Aldanel Authentic Products), Charlottetown

laure solange - entrepreneur immigrant lowresOriginally from the African country of Togo, Laure Solange Pchamdja immigrated to Canada 17 years ago and moved to Charlottetown in 2012. The following year, she established Aldanel Authentic Products Inc. She developed five different tomato sauces and gave them catchy names: Chili Tango, Carrot Symphony, Tomato Celebration, Rouge Poivron et Spinach Carnival. For the time being, she rents the cooking and bottling facilities at the Bio Tech Food Centre in Charlottetown to prepare and package her sauces. She provides work for 11 people. Aldanel sells its products all over the Maritime and Quebec. Pchamdja participates in a variety of food fairs and sales missions to increase her sales; she also belongs to the WeConnect International network, which is helping to open doors for her to access a number of chain supermarkets. (Other finalists in this category were Dotty Daly from the Tír na nÓg Inn in St. Peters and Italo Marzari from Sirenella Ristorante in Charlottetown.)

Laure Solange Pchamdja, centre, accepts the trophy from Catherine Rioux, representing the LIENS project, and Martin Marcoux, representing the Acadian Chamber of Commerce.

La Coopérative de développement culturel et patrimonial de Mont-Carmel

coop dev cult - coop de l'annee lowresLa Coopérative de développement culturel et patrimonial de Mont-Carmel was established in 2006 to provide cultural tourism programming in Mont-Carmel following the closure of the Village de l’Acadie. At first, the co-op organized a summer dinner-theatre. Then, in 2008, it decided to instead produce a musical variety show every Sunday night of the summer tourist season. So far, the co-op has presented on stage more than 750 musicians, singers, storytellers and dancers from all over the country. The small parish hall it uses has welcomed more than 10,000 spectators. This concert series, the most popular of its kind on PEI, also welcomed the closing show of the Atlantic Fiddlers’ Jamboree last year. Since 2010, the Co-op also organizes the extremely popular Grand Ruisseau Song Festival at the end of September. (Other finalists in this category were la Coopérative d’hébergement Le Bel âge of Wellington and la Coopérative d’intégration francophone de l’Î.-P.-É. of Summerside.)

In the photo, six members of the Co-p, including Edmond Gallant, Caroline Arsenault, Melva Gallant, Nancy Smith, Cécile Arsenault and Zita Arsenault, accept the trophy from Martin Marcoux.

Sylvette Morneau (Mom’s Woodshop), Hunter River

sylvette morneau - femme d'affaires lowresSylvette (Plourde) Morneau obtained her wood-working diploma in 1999. Finally, after moving to PEI with her husband Stéphane Morneau, she decided in 2010 to transform her dream into a reality. With the creation of Mom’s Woodshop in Hunter River, she began making wooden furniture. She makes everything from decorative pieces to upper-scale kitchen cabinets, some for indoors and others for outdoors. Her octagon picnic tables and her benches are particularly popular. Sylvette and Stéphane also own and manage the Heritage Classic Inn, a beautiful bed-and-breakfast offering three attractive and comfortable rooms. The B&B, which opened in July 2013, continues to attract customers from all over the world every year from June to September. (The other finalists in this category were Marcia Enman from La Voix acadienne in Summerside and Linda Lowther from Le Groupe Lowther in Rustico.)

In the photo, Sylvette Morneau accepts her trophy from Tania Bernard from CBDC Central PEI and Martin Marcoux from the Acadian Chamber.

Eliott Fraser and Michael MacEwen (Simply Sno-Cones), Charlottetown

simply sno-cones - jeunes entrep lowresMichael MacEwen and Eliott Fraser have just begun their teen years but they’re already experienced businessmen. Through the Francophone edition of the Young Millionaires’ program, they established Simply Sno-Cones in the summer of 2013. Since that time, the company hasn’t stopped innovating and multiplying its profits. They began selling their flavored snow cones at the Stratford Beach. When they realized that the province’s many summer festival and events offered them much more potential, they hit the road. They’ve developed a dispenser unit that allows customers to pour on their own favorite flavored syrup. They’ve got a website, a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Last summer, their third season of operation, they sold $6,100 worth of product and earned $3,800 in profits.

Young Michael MacEwen from Simply Sno-Cones accepts his trophy from RDÉE Canada president Gilles Lanteigne and Acadian Chamber spokesperson Martin Marcoux.

Nico Durant (LaFun), Mont-Carmel

nico durant - jeunes millionnaires lowresLast summer, at the age of 10, Nico Durant of Mont-Carmel established the business « LaFun » to produce and sell Acadian-coloured stilts and juggling balls, as well as wooden guns and bottles of sand containing pieces of sea glass. He travelled to festivals and events all over the province to sell his attractive products. Nico always presented himself as a professional entrepreneur and welcomed his potential customers with his ever-present and warm smile. He was always ready to demonstrate his stilts and other products or to explain what they were all about. Nico even made himself a T-shirt featuring the colors of the Young Millionaires Program and of his business to stand out from his competitors. His efforts were rewarded: he attained sales of $1,320.

Young Nico Durant accepts his trophy from RDÉE PEI president Jeannette Arsenault and Radio-Canada Acadie’s general manager, Richard Simoens.