Desjardins Unveils Winners of the Desjardins Entrepreneurship Prizes



    MONTREAL, April 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Desjardins Group, the largest financial
institution in Québec, has unveiled the winners of its Entrepreneurship
Prizes, which were handed out at the seminar entitled "Les Grands Enjeux de
SECOR/Les Affaires" presented by Desjardins on April 17 in Montréal and on
April 19 in Québec City. Ms. Nathalie Larue, Vice-President, Business
Marketing at Desjardins, and the governors of Fondation Desjardins
representing each of the regions were in attendance.
    The winning companies stood out for their international activities, their
productivity, an exceptional ownership transfer or their commitment to
sustainable development.

    Desjardins International Commerce Prize, in collaboration with EDC
    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    The winning company is Solareh, of Saint-Laurent - Bernard Dalbec,
    President

    Solareh was founded in 1984. Since then this company, specializing in
psychosocial services, has developed unique expertise in the prevention of
absenteeism, health management and getting employees back to work, as well as
in psychosocial interventions following accident or injury. The company, which
operates in Canada, France, Germany and the Benelux countries, has 74
permanent employees and a network of more than 2,500 health professionals and
specialists. Furthermore, Solareh contributes to sustainable development by
establishing a paper-free environment for its employees.

    Desjardins Productivity Challenge Prize, in collaboration with Tecsult
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    The winning company is Alphonse Lepage Inc., of Rivière-du-Loup -
    Guy Bonneville, President

    Alphonse Lepage Inc. has operated a door and window plant for over 50
years. In 2001, the company was acquired by Guy Bonneville and, over the past
three years, the company's sales have tripled thanks to its forward-looking
president and its qualified, committed personnel. The constant quest for
efficiency and the optimization of materials (for example, the use of wood
scraps to supply the factory with hot air) leads to maximum productivity.

    Desjardins Business Ownership Transfer Prize, in collaboration with
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    Samson Bélair / Deloitte & Touche
    ---------------------------------

    The winning company is Placage au Chrome de Ste-Foy Inc. & RMH
    Industries Inc., of Saint-Augustin de Desmaures - Pierre Juneau,
    Eric Moreau, Alain Langlois and Claude Régnier, Co-owners

    Placage au Chrome de Ste-Foy was founded in 1974, while RMH Industries
was founded in 1998. The former is developing a market for roller
reconditioning in order to distance itself from the instability of the pulp
and paper industry, while the latter continues to make headway by
subcontracting repairs for the marine industry. Steps to sell the two
companies to a group of employees were taken discreetly, to preserve
employees' sense of belonging as well as client loyalty. The company faces the
new challenges of establishing a dynamic management process and improving
marketing.

    Desjardins Financial and Social Performance Prizes, in collaboration
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    with Bell
    ---------

    The winners are:

    Eastern Québec

    Ateliers Léopold-Desrosiers Inc., Matane - Jean Marie Doiron, President

    Ateliers Léopold-Desrosiers Inc. was established 24 years ago; its goal
to offer employment to individuals living with disabilities. Because the
company is attentive to the well-being of its staff, it is concerned with job
accommodation with respect to both the workplace and the equipment used. In
addition to its remarkable social commitment, Ateliers Léopold-Desrosiers also
uses mostly recycled materials, with recycling among its primary fields of
expertise.

    Central Québec

    DEFI-SM, Sherbrooke - Michel Lequin, President

    Founded in May 1997, DEFI-SM operates in the wood manufacturing, assembly
and packaging sector. In April 2000, the business received accreditation as an
"Adapted Work Centre" and in 2005, became an "Accessible Company," one of only
a few in Québec. DEFI-SM has 76 full-time employees, the majority of whom have
mental health problems. Over the course of its first eight years in operation,
the company had sales of almost $13 million.

    Western Québec

    GFI Solutions Inc., Montréal - Gilles Létourneau, President

    Begun in 1988, GFI Solutions is a consulting group that develops,
implements and manages electronic business systems and applications for large
companies as well as for small and medium enterprises (SME). Overcoming the
instability of the computer technology industry, the company continued to
grow, and this success made it possible for the company to get involved in the
community through a large number of activities, sponsorships and contributions
to various organizations.
    Each winning company benefits from media visibility worth over $40,000,
enabling it to enhance its reputation and consolidate its standing in the
business world and in the eyes of its clientele. The winners also receive
numerous free Desjardins products and services.
    The jury for the Desjardins Entrepreneurship Prizes acknowledged the
outstanding character of all the candidates. The jury members are: Charles
Désourdy, President and CEO, Ski Bromont; Maurice Landry, Director of Project
Development, Tecsult; Catherine Ferembach, Assistant Deputy Minister,
Secrétariat à la jeunesse of the Government of Québec; Marc-André Nadeau,
Partner, Financial Advisory Services, Samson Bélair / Deloitte & Touche; Louis
 Gaudreau, Vice-President Strategies and Business Integration, Connexim; Frank
Trentadue, National Account Manager, Export Development Canada (EDC); and
Michel Magnan, Professor and Associate Dean, John Molson School of Business,
Concordia University.

    About Desjardins Group

    Desjardins Group is the largest integrated cooperative financial group in
Canada, with overall assets of more than $135 billion, as at December 31,
2006. It comprises a network of caisses, credit unions and business centres in
Québec and Ontario, and some twenty subsidiary companies in life and general
insurance, securities brokerage, venture capital and asset management, many of
which are active across the country. Drawing on the expertise of its 40,000
employees and the commitment of 7,020 elected officers, Desjardins offers its
5.8 million individual and corporate members and clients a full range of
financial products and services. Its physical distribution network is
complemented by leading-edge virtual access methods. To find out more, consult
www.desjardins.com.




For further information:

For further information: (journalists only): Nathalie Genest, Advisor,
Information and Media Relations, (514) 281-7275, 1 866 866-7000, ext. 7275,
nathalie.genest@desjardins.com


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