On November 5th, 2009 the PME Académie launched a contest aimed at budding entrepenuers to come up with a business idea that will create at least two jobs. Part of an initiative of Développement économique Saint-Laurent (DESTL) and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Saint-Laurent to cultivate the formation and growth of small businesses, the contest also receives significant support from the TD Bank Financial Group.
With a first prize of over $100,000.00 and two runner up prizes totalling over $30,000.00, the organizers wanted to make sure that the contest would attract as many entries as possible. By the closing date (15 January,2010) the selection board had received numerous applications worthy of consideration.
On February 1st, 2010 the selection board announced its eight finalists, who for the next three months will go through a training program under the auspices of the PME Académie, aimed at helping each develop their business idea into a solid business plan which can be commercially realized.
The eight finalists by project are:
- Philippe Levy: Temporary pumping solutions for industrial and municipal clients
- Ruddy Gbaguidi: Software development for business contact centers
- Micheline Vilmé - Support center for the aged
- Richard Bourret & Sophie Bohémier - Educational Zoo
- Stéphane Lévesque & Luc Chalifoux - Swab sticks
- Jim Safar & Marc Lamonthe- Communication integration solutions for public services
- Sylvian Gaudreau - Server Protection Software
- Angelo Pace - Financial Education Center
At the end of April, a five person jury comprised of entrepreneurs, consultants, banking professionals and regional organizations will evaluate the viability of each business plan in order to pick a winner. In addition to their votes which will carry an 80% weighting in terms of the outcome, the public will be invited to vote on-line (end March) for the projects as well, with the latter accounting for a 20% weighting in the final result. The winner will be announced at a prize award ceremony on May 19th, 2010.