Olympic medalist Alexandre Despatie pays tribute to 9 944 young people who have dived into entrepreneurship thanks to Valoris

QUÉBEC CITY, May 13, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Alexandre Despatie, Olympic diving medalist, has generously agreed to be associated with the 2013 edition of the Valoris project, an initiative of the Québec Entrepreneurship Contest (QEC), which was created to recognize the efforts of students in disadvantaged areas, to highlight their success and to acknowledge them through action so that they will be encouraged to persevere and embark on a life of accomplishment. Valoris is made possible by funding from the Secrétariat à la jeunesse and the Ministère de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS).

Alexandre Despatie has shown great perseverance throughout his career and his involvement in the Valoris project comes as no surprise: "I am very happy to help showcase the exceptional work of the young people who have carried out entrepreneurial projects as part of the 15th edition of the QEC, and to highlight the contributions of the adults who have supported them for the duration of this extraordinary adventure. When the Valoris team approached me and asked me to promote the message of perseverance and excellence to young Quebeckers, I didn't hesitate, not for a second."

This year, 236 schools took part in Valoris as part of the QEC, with 554 projects carried out by 9 944 young people, who will receive, over the coming days, a large banner along with personalized medals. All these objects have been autographed by Alexandre Despatie and are accompanied by a message of encouragement written by the athlete. A video featuring Despatie, which is part of the package, thanks the various stakeholders who have dared to do things differently and encourages young people to pursue their dreams and to stay in school. The video will be available in the video gallery section of the QEC Web site.

Student entrepreneurship, a tool to facilitate academic achievement
Over the past 15 years, QEC representatives have witnessed the positive spinoffs generated by the implementation of entrepreneurial projects in the schools. These projects offer a stimulating learning context that brings young people together around a common objective. Using project-based learning frameworks in which concepts are directly linked to concrete tasks, the students come to find their presence in class meaningful. In 2011, the QEC published, as part of the Valoris initiative, a comprehensive report on the positive spinoffs and successful strategies of entrepreneurial projects carried out in disadvantaged areas. After reading the comments and data contained in this report, we can safely say that entrepreneurship motivates young people, increases their feeling of belonging and their determination to stay in school, and lowers rates of absenteeism. More specifically, 97% of the teachers interviewed have observed increased motivation among their students and 86% of the young people questioned say that entrepreneurial projects have encouraged them to stay in school.

About the Contest
The QEC is intended to support the development of entrepreneurship throughout Québec. The Student Entrepreneurship division encourages the development of projects that contribute to the development of entrepreneurial values such as leadership, initiative and solidarity in the schools from the elementary level through to university. The QEC's Business Creation division encourages entrepreneurs who are in the early stages of launching a business.

The Contest has the support of many partners, including Mouvement Desjardins as a presenting partner, the Québec government, Rogers, Deloitte, Gaz Métro, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Les affaires magazine, the Barreau du Québec, the Fondation CPA, Saputo, the Association des CLD du Québec, Entrepreneuriat Québec the Réseau des SADC et CAE du Québec.

SOURCE: Québec Entrepreneurship Contest

For further information:

Éric Darveau, Assistant Director General
418-644-4255, extension 2546

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