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Michel Gendreau of Garaga Inc. named 2012 Quebec Entrepreneur Of The Year - EY - Canada

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EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ - News release

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Michel Gendreau of Garaga Inc. named 2012 Quebec Entrepreneur Of The Year

EY recognizes local game-changing entrepreneurs’ leadership and innovation

(Montreal, 26 October 2012) Michel Gendreau, President of Garaga Inc. — leading Canadian garage door manufacturer — is this year’s Quebec EY Entrepreneur Of The Year®.

“Our Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards celebrate game-changing entrepreneurs’ ability to see opportunity where others see risk,” says Sylvain Vincent, EY Managing Partner in Eastern Canada. “Michel’s fearlessness in the face of adversity has been essential to Garaga’s success.”     

Michel acquired then-bankrupt Garaga Inc. in 1983 and by rallying employees, suppliers, clients and new financial partners, transformed the company into a profitable — and leading — manufacturing business. During the economic crisis of 1990–91, Michel also expanded Garaga’s offerings and implemented new efficiency standards. The risk was worth the reward. Today, Garaga’s distribution network spans across Canada, the United States, Central and South America, and the Middle East.    

“Michel’s unwavering focus on innovation, continuous improvement and integrity has made Garaga Canada’s leading garage door manufacturer and the seventh largest manufacturer in North America,” says Vincent.

But innovation doesn’t happen randomly. EY’s recent report Innovating for growth finds that leading innovators take advantage of changes in their external environment, continually revamp their business models and innovate with an end goal in mind. More than anything, it takes a long-term view.

“It’s an honour to recognize the talent and accomplishments of our local entrepreneurs,” says Vincent. “Their ability to turn good ideas into great businesses that improve our economy and our communities is something to truly admire.”

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year recognizes the spirit and contribution of entrepreneurs here and around the world. The Canadian program is in its 19th year of honouring the country’s most impressive entrepreneurs from all areas of business. Award winners are chosen based on a number of factors, including their vision, leadership, financial performance and social responsibility.

For more information on Innovating for growth, click here.

Category winners of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012 Quebec Awards:

Business-to-business products and services

Georges Karam
Atelka inc. | Montreal
Montreal-based company offering businesses a complete line of business process outsourcing, specializing in technical solutions for call centres as well as technical and billing support.

Business-to-consumer products and services

Joe Poulin
Luxury Retreats Inc. | Montreal
World leader in luxury villa rentals, marketing over 1,800 villas in 55 regions.

Technology and communications

Alain-Jacques Simard
TeraXion | Quebec City
Designer and manufacturer of state-of-the-art optical components and modules for high-speed fibre-optic transmission networks, fibre lasers and optical sensing applications.


Michel Gendreau
Garaga Inc. | St-Georges
Leading garage door manufacturer in Canada and the seventh-largest manufacturer in North America.

Emerging entrepreneur

Martin-Luc Archambault
Wajam | Montreal
Social search engine indexing both public and privately shared content from social networks.

Clothing, accessories and fashion

Diane Lanctôt
Lanctôt Ltée | Mont-Royal
Distributor and manufacturer of leading sports brands.

Media and entertainment

Sylvain Labarre
Labarre Gauthier Inc. (lg2) | Montreal
Leading Montreal- and Quebec City-based advertising agency.

Service business

André Rochette
Ecosystem | Quebec City
Self-financed energy efficiency projects for buildings that are worth more, cost less and have more appealing spaces

Information technology

Dax Dasilva
LightSpeed | Montreal
A fully integrated, inventory-centric retail system that moves seamlessly from the front counter to online and customers.

Special citation — Social entrepreneur

Social entrepreneur is a unique category that awards a special citation to an entrepreneur whose achievements have driven large-scale social change and improved people’s lives or quality of life.

Sandrine Faust
Allô prof | Montreal
Non-profit organization that supports staying in school and academic success by providing free help with homework to Quebec students and parents by telephone and over the internet, from elementary through secondary school.

What’s next?
As Quebec’s 2012 Entrepreneur Of The Year, Michel will join Pacific regional winner, Ashley Cooper, Paladin Security Group Ltd.; Ontario regional winner John A. McCluskey, Alamos Gold Inc.; Prairies regional winner, Dr. Alan Ulsifer, FYidoctors; and Atlantic regional winner, Patrick O'Callaghan, East Coast Catering Ltd. for the national honour of Canada’s Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012, to be presented at a gala celebration January 16, 2013, in Toronto. In June 2013, Canada’s Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012 will move to the world stage to compete with more than 50 country recipients for the title of EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year®.

In collaboration with the École d’Entrepreneurship de Beauce (EEB), over the coming months, EY will select one 2012 Quebec Entrepreneur Of The Year winner or finalist, and provide them with a $15,000 bursary to be used in a future EEB session.

About Entrepreneur of The Year
Entrepreneur Of The Year honours the spirit and contribution of entrepreneurs here and around the world. Nominees are reviewed by an independent judging panel composed of several distinguished business leaders and previous award recipients. The 2012 Quebec judging panel consisted of Isabelle Bettez, President and CEO, 8D Technologies inc.; Étienne Borgeat, CEO, PCO Innovation, 2010 winner, Business-to-business products and services; Jean Cloutier, Vice-president, Operations and Finance, Outdoor Gear Canada (OGC), 2010 winner, Manufacturing; Nathalie Marcoux, Vice-president, Finance, Capinabel Inc.; Andrée-Lise Méthot, Founder and Senior Partner, Cycle Capital Management; Guy Michaud, President, DirectLab Inc., 2010 winner, Health sciences; Pascal Pilon, President and CEO, Averna, 2009 winner, Technology; Alexandre Taillefer, Managing Partner, XPND Capital; and Étienne Veilleux, President and CEO, Distech Controls Inc., 2010 winner, Cleantech.

For more information on the program, FAQs, and key dates, please visit

For ticket information about the National Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards Gala on January 16, 2013, please contact Katelyn Jarosz at 416 941 1810 or

Follow us on Twitter @EYCanada: #EOYCanada, #EOYQuebec.

This year’s national program sponsors are National Post, La Presse and RDI.

About EY’s Entrepreneurial Services Practice
Ernst & Young LLP’s Entrepreneurial Services Practice guides Canadian entrepreneurs by delivering integrated services tailored to their goals and needs at every stage of the business lifecycle. We are the world's leader in advising, guiding and recognizing the entrepreneurs who propel the economy – and community – forward.

For more information, please visit

About EY
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 167,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve their potential.

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