SUMMERSIDE – A young magician, internationally renowned musicians, a highly reputed Acadian festival, in addition to manufacturers and retailers of toys, souvenirs, bicycles, vinyl records and skin-care products have just earned seven awards from the Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of P.E.I. (CCAFLIPE).
The winners received trophies and much praise for their vast contributions to the Island economy and community during the 2018 Acadian Entrepreneurs' Gala at the Centre Belle-Alliance in Summerside on March 17.
This popular event, brimming with colour and ceremony, is the Chamber's most important night of the year. It attracted 138 people this year.
Chamber spokesperson Pierre Gallant noted in his gala kickoff message that the winners, as well as the other 12 finalists, share various traits.
"First, they all provide exceptional customer service. Nowadays, that's worth its weight in gold. And secondly, our finalists all have a distinct advantage over the majority of their competitors: they all provide services in two or three languages."
Gallant noted that three quarters of this year's finalists were women or businesses or organizations managed or co-managed by women. This proportion, he said, is definitely a record.
"We are therefore extremely pleased to see that women are taking the place they rightfully deserve in the Acadian and francophone business world as well as on the provincial scene. You are all tremendous role models for the young girls and women who will follow in your footsteps. So, congratulations and keep up your fantastic work."
Egmont MP Robert Morrissey and Sonny Gallant, provincial Minister of Work Force and Advanced Learning, both officially congratulated the winners, the finalists and the organizers of the event. Chris Palmer, Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, attended the event for a first time to present the $10,000 championship cheque to the winner of the Dragons' Contest.
Among the other sponsors of the evening were the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), ProMax 2000 and the 2018 Dragons' Contest.
The awards handed out at this 17th edition of the Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of P.E.I. Gala:
2018 President's Award of Excellence - Vishten, the globe-trotting Acadian-Celtic group composed of Pastelle and Emmanuelle Leblanc and Pascal Miousse (sponsored by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency);
2018 Distinguished Entrepreneur Award - Jeannette Arsenault of Summerside, co-owner of Shop & Play, formerly Cavendish Figurines (sponsored by RDÉE Prince Edward Island);
2018 Immigrant Entrepreneur Award - Gideon Banahene of Charlottetown, owner of Danso Bikes and Kaneshii Vinyl Press, and partner in The Great Shea (sponsored by the LIENS project);
2018 Social Economy Business Award - The Evangeline Area Agricultural Exhibition and Acadian Festival, Abram-Village (sponsored by the Evangeline-Central Credit Union);
2018 Business Personality Award - Ghislaine Cormier of Charlottetown, owner of The Great Shea and partner in Kaneshii Vinyl Press (sponsored by Innovation PEI);
2018 Enterprising Youth Award - Jérémie Buote of Rustico, magician-comedian with the Carnaval en Promenade (sponsored by CBDC Central PEI);
2017 Young Millionaires Award - Isabelle Fisk of "Izzy's Rockpile" and Nicholas Sauvé of "Nick's Spinners", a brother-and-sister duo from Birch Hill (sponsored by Radio-Canada Acadie).