Launch of PME Académie contest - Thanks to TD Bank Financial Group, $100,000
will be available to support business start-ups

SAINT-LAURENT, QC, Nov. 5 /CNW Telbec/ - Développement économique Saint-Laurent (DESTL), the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Saint-Laurent and TD Bank Financial Group are proud to announce the new PME Académie competitions-a privileged opportunity for innovative Montréal entrepreneurs to submit their business plan and earn up to $100,000 in financing, including a $30,000 grant from TD to facilitate their business start-up.

Coordinated by DESTL and it's Local Development Center (CLD), PME Académie provides entrepreneurs with a special opportunity to start up their own business under the best possible conditions. Backed by three months of training (February, March, April), eight finalists will be selected and coached by trainers as well as by seasoned mentors, all throughout the development of their business plan.

"For TD Bank Financial Group, it's a chance to open the door to the business world for Québec entrepreneurs who will be supported by our services all throughout their growth. In this way, we are able to establish a dialogue between business partners from their first moments and to build on solid foundations in addition to giving a good helping hand to start-up operations," stated Nancy Hammond, Vice-President, Laval/St-Laurent district, TD Canada Trust.

Alan DeSousa, Saint-Laurent Mayor and Chairman of the CLD, stated that PME Académie is giving Saint-Laurent "a potential to create at least eight new businesses, at a time when the recovery should begin to be felt. It must be pointed out that a major contribution is being made by TD Bank Financial Group, which is offered an substantial financial support. PME Académie is an attractive way of encouraging new initiatives and innovative business projects, creating jobs and stimulating entrepreneurship".

Expressing his enthusiasm, as well, over the possibilities of creating new businesses, DESTL President François Jobin added that: "The winning formula of coaching and training sets up the best possible conditions right from the time of start-up of the new business. So even though we have only one grand-prize winner, all the other finalists have the chance of validating and consolidating their business plan."

Anyone interested may enter the competitions November 1, 2009 - January 15, 2010, by obtaining an application form on the website (www.pmeacademie.ca). Applicants must be 18 years of age, Canadian citizens, submit a business plan summary for a new company and sign the agreement to locate it on the territory served by DESTL. Further details and requirements of these competitions, the rules and regulations as well as the application forms may be found in the information pamphlet or on the website for these competitions.

The finalists, trainers and panel of judges will be publicly announced in early February 2010 and the winner's name will be revealed in May 2010.

For general information on PME Académie: www.pmeacademie.ca

About DESTL and the CLD Centre West

DESTL is a non-profit organization whose main objective is to support business leaders in the manufacturing and service sectors. As for the CLD Centre West, managed by DESTL, it offers a complete range of services for the start-up and growth of companies located in Saint-Laurent, Côte-Saint-Luc, Hampstead and Montreal-Ouest. The CLD makes available to entrepreneurs customized services, technical and general support in order to increase their chances of success in their business projects.

About the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Saint-Laurent

A front line economic development organization serving the Saint-Laurent business community since 1981, the Saint-Laurent Chamber of Commerce and Industry works closely with various other leaders such as the Borough of Saint-Laurent, Développement économique Saint-Laurent, the Marguerite-Bourgeois School Board, Emploi-Québec, Vision Diversité, the Economic Development, Innovation and Exportations Ministry, the Immigration and Cultural Communities Ministry and many others. The Chamber offers a program that includes a wide range of activities including training, informative gatherings, conferences, networking events, etc... Among its main projects are the Alpha Contest, the Contact-Emploi program, the Corporate Challenge and many luncheon conferences.

About TD Bank Financial Group

The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its subsidiaries are collectively known as TD Bank Financial Group. TD Bank Financial Group is the sixth largest bank in North America by branches and serves approximately 17 million customers in four key sectors operating in several financial centres around the globe: Canadian Personal and Commercial Banking, including TD Canada Trust and TD Insurance; Wealth Management, including TD Waterhouse and an investment in TD Ameritrade; U.S. Personal and Commercial Banking through TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank; and Wholesale Banking, including TD Securities. TD Bank Financial Group also ranks among the world's leading online financial services firms, with more than 5.5 million online customers. TD Bank Financial Group had CDN$545 billion in assets on July 31, 2009. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades under the symbol "TD" on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges.

SOURCE TD Bank Group

For further information: For further information: TD: Sophie Merven, HKDP, (514) 395-0375, ext. 239, smerven@hkdp.qc.ca; Tara Sirinyan, TD Bank Financial Group, (514) 385-2244, tara.sirinyan@tdinsurance.com; Source: Cécile St-Pierre, Communication Coordinator, DESTL 514-855-6000, ext. 4832, cecile.st-pierre@destl.ca


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