All brought home trophies from Saturday’s Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of P.E.I.’s 2013 Entrepreneurs’ Gala.
The five winners of the chamber’s regular awards were selected among 20 nominations received, surpassing last year’s 14 nominations.
“The selection committee was very impressed by the amazing quality of submissions received,” said gala host Raymond J. Arsenault while delivering the welcome speech on behalf of chamber spokesperson Jeannette Arsenault, who could not attend the event.
“Already, we consider all of the nominees to be winners since they all contribute exceptionally to our province’s economy, to job creation, to the development of our communities and to the delivery of high quality products and services.”
The Acadian chamber also presented a new prize for participants of last year’s Young Millionaires program.
The Young Millionaires Award was given to Les bracelets de André et Chad, owned by friends and cousins André Arsenault of Abram-Village and Chad Arsenault of St. Raphael.
The 2013 Co-operative of the Year went to Abram’s Village Handcraft Co-op, which first opened in the home of Arthur and Joséphine Arsenault of Abram-Village.
The following year, the group moved the store to the community’s former schoolhouse. In 1973, member artisans incorporated as a co-op and built the gift shop on the Cannontown Road.
Today, that building includes a gift shop with P.E.I. handcrafts, a quilt gallery and fabric museum.
Réjeanne Arsenault, owner of the Bottle Houses, Cape-Egmont, was the recipient of the 2013 Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year.
She is the first woman to earn the award, which is now in its 10th year.
Arsenault has been operating the Bottle Houses since 1988 and incorporated the attraction the following year.
From 1992 to 1998, she had the three bottle building rebuilt and, over time, has added a large bottle at the entrance to the property, a scale-model reproduction of the Cape Egmont lighthouse and a flower garden interpretative centre.
Most recently, Arsenault added a boutique and welcome centre and also installed a charging station for electric cars.
Arsenault’s Fish Mart of Summerside and Maximeville, which is owned by Robert Arsenault, was the recipient of the 2013 President’s Excellence Award.
Arsenault started his business in 1993 as a fish buyer. The business grew over the years, from first being operated out of his home in Maximeville to, in 2009, a location at Holman’s Wharf in Summerside.
Today, during the summer, Arsenault employs 24 people full-time and, in winter, two part-time employees.
Other winners included:
- 2013 Business Woman of the Year: Lise Buote, owner of Blue Heron Enterprises and co-owner of Blue Heron Construction, Rustico; and
- 2013 Enterprising Youth of the Year: Katelyn Gill of Charlottetown.
The 2013 gala was the 12th edition of the entrepreneurial awards’ night organized by the chamber and its parent organization, RDÉE Prince Edward Island. About 100 people attended the event to help with the celebration.
Its main sponsors were RDÉE Prince Edward Island, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the Province of Prince Edward Island, Evangeline-Central Credit Union, CBDC Central P.E.I., Mike Bradley Insurance Services (the Co-operators), the PERCÉ Program and Radio-Canada Acadie, with secondary sponsors were the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), La Voix acadienne and ProMax 2000.