WELLINGTON, P.E.I. – Eight Island entrepreneurs are vying for top prize of the Francophone Ignition Contest.
“After having examined the proposals submitted by our eight contestants, it is impossible to even venture a guess at who might win the $25,000 prize that will be presented to the winner to help set up his or her entrepreneurial project,” says contest coordinator Velma Robichaud.
“We’ve received excellent written submissions, but it will be the verbal presentations before the judges that will really determine who will be named the champion.”
The names of the contestants have not been released, but Robichaud said the proposed entrepreneurial projects touch on a wide variety of fields such as agriculture, ecology, new technologies, communications, transport and health care.
“The judges are going to have an extremely hard job since they’ll pretty much have to compare apples to oranges,” she said.
On Feb. 9 and 10, all contestants are invited to participate in a weekend of intense training on finances and pitching their project before a panel of judges. Ron and Connie Robichaud of C&R Care and Consulting in Nova Scotia will deliver the training.
Ron will focus on numbers and economic viability of businesses, while Connie will train participants on the use of gestures and body language to try to influence the judges.
The Collège de l’Île will also deliver an Insights Discovery session on knowledge of self and communication styles.
On March 2, the contestants will take part in a pre-selection competition. They will have seven minutes to present their project to the judges. Then the top three finalists will be selected.
The final competition is held jointly with the Acadian Entrepreneurs’ Gala on March 16, at 5 p.m. at Centre Belle-Alliance in Summerside.
They’ll again have seven minutes to pitch their project, but this time in front of the public and a panel of judges from Atlantic Canada.
At the end of the evening, the winner will receive the championship prize of $25,000. as well as free memberships to the Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of P.E.I., as well as to the Summerside and Charlottetown Chambers of Commerce.
The cash prize comes from Innovation P.E.I.’s Ignition Start-Up Fund. The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency is funding the coordination, training and administration for this initiative.
The Francophone Ignition Contest replaces the former “Dragons’ Contest” that RDÉE Prince Edward Island held four times over the years. Both versions take place in exactly the same way.