A Contest to Stimulate Private Entrepreneurship in Wemotaci
From June 10th to the 13th, 2019, Nikanik Economic Development Corporation, in collaboration with the FNQLEDC, organized a contest entitled “My chance to become an entrepreneur” aimed at stimulating the creation of businesses in Wemotaci.
Currently In Wemotaci, such is the case in many other First Nations communities, community businesses outnumber private companies. To remedy this situation, the Corporation decided to run a contest giving its community members the chance to develop a business project. In total, over thirty individuals showed interest wherein 17 submitted an overview detailing their project. In the end, 10 projects were retained and 11 future entrepreneurs moved forward with the next phase.
A Project Development Bootcamp
Over the course of four days, the participants were involved in an entrepreneurial bootcamp, hosted by FNQLEDC advisors, Myriam Vallières and Frédérick Martel. During this accelerated training, they were able to become knowledgeable with the contents of a business plan, learn about various business structures and available funding sources. The last day of the bootcamp was dedicated to preparing the entrepreneurs for the final activity that consisted in presenting, with only a few minutes each, their respective projects to the jury, The Eagles. The jury included Steve Laveau, FNQLEDC Economic Development Advisor, accompanied by representatives from economic development organizations from the Mauricie region and by the Wemotaci Atikamekw Council. Despite the overwhelming and understandable nervousness, all the participants brilliantly mastered the challenge! They’ve all come out winners and were granted $1000.00 towards realizing their projects. Additionally, three entrepreneurs were successful in securing first, second and third place: Lisanne Petiquay (Boutique Miskizann, 1st place, $5000.00), Lisa-Marie Coocoo (Centre Opoho, 2nd place, $3000.00) and Jocelyne Basile (Crèmerie, 3rd place, $2000.00)
Diverse and Promising Projects
Projects developed and presented during the contest are very diverse, anywhere from a Laundromat to the crafting and sale of traditional moccasins to a garage and a rest area consistent with safe travels towards the community. For Mr. Adam Jourdain, Director General of Nikanik Economic Development Corporation; “this experience once again sheds some light on the immense progress in Wometaci in terms of economic development”. Following the contest, all the participants will benefit from the support and assistance of Mr. Jourdain and his colleague, Mr. Nicky Petiquay, towards developing and achieving their projects.
The FNQLEDC team is proud to have been part of this wonderful adventure and been able to contribute to the contest’s success.
If this article inspires you and, just like Nikanik Economic Development Corporation, you want to stimulate the creation of businesses in your community, don’t hesitate to contact any one of our advisors!