Young business people “united” by a difference – Le Soleil

“I questioned myself, I wasn’t sure if I was worth it. I waited until the last minute. Then I submitted my application,” admits Marc-Antoine Dion, co-founder of LikaB, in an interview with Le Soleil.

The Young Chamber of Commerce of Quebec’s Young Business Personalities (JPA) were selected in mid-November for their positive leadership qualities, determination and social implications. Big names in Quebec’s business community have already been in the running, such as Dominic Brown, then head of Beenox, in 2006 and Rachelle Séguin, president of Omy Laboratoires, in 2020.

Marc-Antoine, a 27-year-old entrepreneur, is proud to have his name included in the JPA list. The company he founded together with his father, which created a platform for networking part-time workers, is just celebrating its two-year anniversary.

“I told myself that I hadn’t reached my goal yet, that I hadn’t achieved enough,” admits Marc-Antoine, who believes that his authenticity caught the jury’s eye.

balance

For her part, Béatrice Vallière, founder of the marketing company Vitamine B, believes that her vision of entrepreneurship made her stand out from the crowd. “Being in business doesn’t mean I double my sales every year. […] “It’s about asking myself if I’m happy and if I have my life balance,” she explains.

Béatrice Vallières wants to eliminate the urge to achieve at all costs in the business world and find her life balance.

“It affects mental health. We put so much pressure on ourselves with performance and efficiency. I always promised myself that my everyday life would be like retirement.”

— Béatrice Vallières, founder of VitamineB Marketing

Gratitude and excitement also mix with imposter syndrome. After two years in the business, Béatrice, at the age of 25, wants to prove that she has what it takes to become a JPA. She hopes to inspire her business community.

Entrepreneur

For his part, Charlie Gaudreau, co-owner of the family business Un armchair pour deux, happens to be the first woman nominated in his Construction and Real Estate category. She was denounced, a term in Junior Chamber jargon that means the governors encouraged her candidacy.

Charlie Gaudreau joined his mother's company Un armchair pour deux nine years ago.

“Being nominated by an organization like the Junior Chamber serves as a stepping stone for the future. Not only do we recognize who we are as entrepreneurs so far, it also gives us the necessary impetus for the future,” she says happily.

Founded in 1999 by his mother Nancy Ricard, the company is already well established. As a “young entrepreneur mother in a very masculine environment,” she wants to put the areas of furniture and construction in a different light.

Through her conferences in schools as well as her involvement with Filia – Female Entrepreneurship, Charlie wants to pass on the spark she had to the business world.

The mission above all

Béatrice Amyot, general director and founder of Réforme, receives this appointment as a gift. “I was really flattered to be chosen so early in my career,” she says.

Currently, sex education kits can be found in 10% of primary and secondary schools in Quebec. They also organize youth centers. And that’s just the beginning, says the businesswoman.

Béatrice Amyot was nominated as a young entrepreneur in the

The one who says she is passionate about beauty has always wanted to help. “During product design, I discovered that there are different ways to specifically help people. With Réforme I saw a very beautiful way to realize myself.”

“What we do, we do for society. And society gives it back to us.”

— Béatrice Amyot, Director General of Réforme

She turned to the non-profit legal form to build her company. “I want to shout from the rooftops that being an NPO is not complicated. “I enjoy being the spokesperson for my fellow human beings,” she says.

From solo to cohort

The nine JPAs form a “special cohort,” affirms the founder of VitamineB. “We don’t leave anyone behind. There is a wonderful spirit of solidarity. There are all nine of us here. We all deserve our place. Let’s stick together!”

Although JPA companies operate in different industries, the personal challenges they face remain the same. Find balance in life, trust yourself and learn to avoid other people’s mistakes.

“Being an entrepreneur is a bit of a solo endeavor. I don’t talk to many people in a week. With other entrepreneurs who experience the same reality, we can trust each other,” says the woman at the helm of Réforme.

“I think it’s nice to see people starting out and trying to live their dream. And do your best.”

— Charlie Gaudreau, co-owner of Un armchair pour deux

In February, the Quebec Young Chamber of Commerce will select just one of nine candidates for the 2023 JPA of the Year at a gala.

However, the feeling of competition is missing. “We feel like we all won our category. We agree, we write to each other regularly. I can’t wait to see how these connections will develop over the months and years,” hopes Béatrice Amyot.

The cohort of young entrepreneurs of 2023

The nine young entrepreneurs have been nominated

  • Antoine Grégoire-Slight, President at Fika Productions (International Reach)
  • Charlie Gaudreau, Sales Manager and Co-Owner of Un Fauteuil Pour Deux (Construction and Real Estate)
  • Béatrice Vallière, founder of VitamineB Marketing (marketing, communication and content creation)
  • Catherine Pelletier, general coordinator of the Quebec Association for Training in Catering, Tourism and Hospitality
  • Andréanne Rochette, founder of Yogi Nomade (health and well-being)
  • Béatrice Amyot, Director General at Réforme (Social and Community)
  • Marc-Antoine Dion, President and Co-Founder of LikaB (Innovation and Technology)
  • Leattytia Badibanga, President of Pattes Vertes (Retail and E-Commerce)
  • Mylène Jean St-Gelais, Director of Sustainable Recruitment at Aleanza Sustainable Recruitment (Professional Services)