ABRAM-VILLAGE – March 3, 2022 – Quince Pottery (La Poterie du Coing), the small business operated by Marie-Paul Medeiros and Jacob Mathieu of Malpeque, will now be able to grow considerably since its owners have just won the championship of the 2022 Francophone Ignition Contest, RDÉE Prince Edward Island’s annual entrepreneurial development competition.
The duo, extremely happy to have won the competition, will use the $25,000 investment they won at the March 2 competition to purchase a pottery kiln and other equipment, dig an artesian well, expand their workshop, set up a sales boutique and develop a website with an online sales system.
The couple developed their artistic talents in Quebec and British Columbia over the years. In 2020, they settled in Malpeque with their four children. They converted the old village blacksmith shop, located on their property, into a studio. They produce a variety of modern pottery pieces (straight lines, light colours, Japanese influence) for a young and urban clientele, compared to the traditional style usually found on the Island. They sell their products in a display counter by their home, at the Summerside Farmers’ Market and online (Etsy). They now also plan to offer pottery workshops for people who would like to paint and decorate their own creations. Their children are constantly at their side learning this art form and even selling their own products.
The judges – entrepreneurs Claudette Thériault and Gilles Arsenault and banker Alfred Arsenault – determined that Mathieu and Medeiros’ project had the most potential for success and would benefit the most from a $25,000 injection. This investment came from Innovation PEI’s Ignition Start-Up Fund. For this reason, Mathieu Foran, Innovation PEI’s Bilingual Cultural Development Officer, attended the competition finals in Abram-Village to present the cheque to the champions.
The winning duo also received free one-year memberships from the Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce, as well as a free business course from the Collège de l’Île.
The Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of PEI presented free memberships to Quince Pottery as well as to the other two finalists, Fusion Gift Boxes by Solange Aké and The BeLIVING Way by Mélanie Dufour.
The first competitor of the evening, Solange Aké of Stratford, founder of Distinct Magic Decor, explained that she had recently added a new division to her business, Fusion Gift Boxes. It is a service that prepares and sells gift boxes containing a selection of products from Atlantic Canada, as well as colourful items with a French and West African flavour (such as table runners from the Ivory Coast, aprons, bathrobes, etc.) These boxes can be customized, depending on the needs and budgets. She considers her main market to be the corporate and organizational sector, but she also offers boxes for individuals who want to give gifts to loved ones. If she had won the investment, she would have hired consultants to prepare her strategic plan, developed a marketing plan to better promote her brand and purchased inventory.
The second competitor was Melanie Dufour of Tignish, who has been an entrepreneur and holistic health practitioner for several years. Certified and accredited in various health therapies (coach, Reiki master, advanced breathing therapy and meditation), she is the founder of The Glow Juicery PEI and The Recovery Studio in Summerside. She is looking to consolidate all her naturopathic, coaching, juice and other health services under a new brand name, The BeLIVING Way, and to add new products. The goal is to offer clients holistic and personalized programs, products and therapies under four pillars: mental health/wellness, physical, spiritual and activity. All of this would be managed from a web platform (a kind of one-stop-shop) on which other wellness service providers could promote their services. She would have spent the investment on platform development, renovations, marketing and signage.
The coordination and promotion of the event was made possible through contributions from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and RDÉE Prince Edward Island.