Gilbert Rozon of Just for Laughs named EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Québec 2016

Annual awards gala celebrates outstanding local entrepreneurs

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(Montréal, 21 October 2016) Gilbert Rozon, President and Founder of Just for Laughs Inc., the organization that hosts some of the world’s largest and most renowned comedy festivals, is this year’s EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Québec winner.

“Comedy is a universal language,” says Daniel Baer, EY’s Québec Entrepreneur Of The Year program co-director. “Gilbert took the world’s love for humour and evolved it into an international production that everyone can participate in. Just for Laughs has developed comedic stars, pushed entertainment boundaries – and even helped strengthen Québec’s tourism industry along the way.”

From paperboy and gravedigger, to lumberjack and lawyer, Rozon gives credit to his diverse résumé for helping him develop a sense of humour and a unique skill set at a young age. Equipped with a wide range of experiences, he followed his gut and itch for showbiz, to launch the first Just for Laughs festival in 1983.

Originating in Montréal, the festival has become a huge commercial and cultural success for Québec. Just for Laughs has grown to attract more than two million spectators annually, and has crossed borders into Toronto, Chicago, Sydney and Paris. Over the years, the company expanded into performances, artist management and television productions – which air in over 135 countries, featuring some of entertainments’ biggest stars.

Beyond the laughs, Rozon is part of a number of organizations that bring international recognition to Québec and foster the growth of its tourism industry. For example, he’s a director on the board for the Society for the Celebration of Montreal’s 375th anniversary, which is committed to organizing socioeconomic contributions that will mark Montreal’s birthday in 2017.  

“Just for Laugh’s mission is to ‘make people happy’ and that’s exactly what it does,” says Luc Charbonneau, EY’s Québec Entrepreneur Of The Year program co-director. “The company’s work puts smiles on the faces of many. Bringing in large international crowds, Just for Laughs is a true Québec success story that continues to boost tourism in our province. Gilbert is a prime example of how entrepreneurs fuel economic growth, and is very deserving of this award.”

Family Business Award of Excellence
Lino Saputo Jr., Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairman of the Board of Saputo Inc. accepted the Family Business Award of Excellence on behalf of the Saputo family, one of Québec’s outstanding entrepreneurial and philanthropic families.

What’s next?
As the Québec region’s EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016, Gilbert will compete with top entrepreneurs from the Pacific, Prairies, Ontario and Atlantic regions for the national honour of Canada’s EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016, to be presented at a gala celebration on 22 November 2016 in Toronto. In June 2017, Canada’s EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016 will move to the world stage to compete with more than 50 country recipients for the title of EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year.

More information
Follow @EYCanada, #EOY and #GPEQuebec on Twitter for the latest event updates.

Visit for more program details and a complete list of category finalists and gala dates in the regions.

The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Québec 2016 category award recipients:

Business Services

Enzo Vardaro
Artitalia Group | Montréal
Provides end-to-end manufacturing of innovative custom metal, wood and acrylic fixtures for the retail, hospitality & restaurant, material handling, and mail & parcel markets.

Business-to-Business Products and Services

Sébastien Moreau
Rodeo FX | Montréal
Provides award-winning, world-class visual effects services to clients in cinema, television and advertising.

Rodeo FX was selected by the National Canadian judging panel to receive a special citation for Global Industry Leadership at the National EY Entrepreneur Of The Year gala on 22 November.

Business-to-Consumer Products and Services

David Cape
Groupe Marcelle | Montréal
A Canadian leader in the research, development, production and marketing of cosmetic and skincare products.

Groupe Marcelle was selected by the National Canadian judging panel to receive a special citation for Multigenerational Entrepreneurship at the National EY Entrepreneur Of The Year gala on 22 November.

Emerging Entrepreneur

Adrian Schauer
AlayaCare | Montréal
End-to-end home healthcare software focused on providing better patient outcomes through robust clinical documentation, back office solutions and next-generation technology.

Health Sciences

Jonathan Goodman and Jeffrey Kadanoff
Knight Therapeutics (TSX: GUD) | Westmount
Specialty pharmaceutical company focused on acquiring, licensing, marketing and distributing innovative prescription pharmaceuticals, consumer health products and medical devices.

Information Technology

Paul Raymond
Alithya | Québec
Provides consulting services in information technology and organizational management, creating synergies between business and IT for the financial services, telecommunications, transportation, healthcare and government sectors.


Andrew Richardson
Targray Technology International | Kirkland
A leading supplier of critical raw materials, consumables and equipment to manufacturers in the solar, biofuels, lithium-ion battery and optical media industries.

Media and Entertainment

Gilbert Rozon
Just for Laughs | Montréal
The world’s largest festival of comedy for over 34 years, Just for Laughs is a world leader in TV comedy show distribution, with presence in over 135 countries.

Technology and Communications

Martin Thériault
Eddyfi | Québec
Hi-tech company producing non-destructive testing equipment for clients in the energy sector.


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About EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™
EY Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The unique award makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential, and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 145 cities in 60 countries.

The 2016 Québec independent judging panel consists of Chris Arsenault, Managing Partner, iNovia Capital; Jean-Françoys Brousseau, President and CEO, Outbox Holding CRB Inc.; Anne Darche, President, Pertinence Inc.; Martin Deschênes, President and CEO, Groupe Deschênes Inc.; and Marie-Anne Tawil, President and CEO, Iron Hill Investments Inc.

This year's program national sponsors are TEC Canada, La Presse, RDI, The TMX Group, The Globe and Mail Inc., Merrill Corporation, Kira Talent, Air Canada and The Printing House Limited. Québec’s regional sponsor is Captivate Networks. Québec’s gala patron is Viau.

About EY’s Growth Markets Network
EY’s worldwide Growth Markets Network is dedicated to serving the changing needs of high-growth companies. For more than 30 years, we’ve helped many of the world’s most dynamic and ambitious companies grow into market leaders. Whether working with international mid-cap companies or early-stage venture-backed businesses, our professionals draw upon their extensive experience, insight and global resources to help your business succeed. 

About EY
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. For more than 150 years in Canada, we’ve delivered the insights and quality services that help build trust and confidence in capital markets here and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

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