Défi48: an Entrepreneurial Simulation Grounded in Reality

The young entrepreneurs came from all over the province. Courtesy photo.

Défi48 was recently in the region after having travelled throughout the summer to several cities in Quebec. This was its last stop before the grand finale, which took place from 20 to 22 August in Drummondville. Rio Tinto, a proud partner of the event, was there to encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs and to support the teams in this exciting challenge whose mission is to help build an enterprising and responsible society.

A challenge that builds character and entrepreneurial skills

Défi48 is a fun entrepreneurial challenge, but one that is completely grounded in reality. For 48 hours, teams are dropped right into the daily ups and downs that can arise in the business world. During this exciting competition, teams must launch a pop-up business with a single dollar and make real sales. But beware, the outcome is never certain since the participants must also overcome different obstacles designed to help them develop skills such as creativity, problem solving, initiative, resourcefulness, communication, and collaboration.

Over the course of two days, the young people are taken out of their comfort zone both during the day and at night and are given an opportunity to develop transferable skills,” said Luc Cyrenne, Project Director of Regional Economic Development. “By participating in this competition, young people gain insight and expertise to go into the future with a viable business plan.

Apprends & Entreprends organises the educational competition, which builds both knowledge and character. Charles-Antoine Hallé, President of Apprends & Entreprends and co-designer of Défi48, said, “We wanted to show that anyone can become an entrepreneur and that it is possible to do a lot with very little—you just have to go for it.” Adding to Mr. Hallé’s statement, Mr. Cyrenne said, “The built-in adversity and real-world nature of the competition helps individuals become resourceful and persistent. It’s a life experience, and as a partner it is motivating to witness the first steps of the next generation of entrepreneurs. We have seen the start of new friendships and of businesses in the making.”

Charles-Antoine Hallé, Director and co-designer of Défi48.
Courtesy photo.

A bright future

Défi48, which was in its first edition, is set to grow over the next few years and will certainly be back in the region next year. Mr. Hallé was impressed by the enthusiasm of the people in the region and the way they embraced the challenge. Saguenay’s challenge participants also did well with projects that had an impressive profitability rate—the first-place team raised $9,800; the second-place team, $7,400; and the third-place team, $5,800.

In addition to the actual money earned from their respective projects, the winners were eligible to win up to $15,000—awarded as either professional services or international mobility grants offered by Les Offices jeunesse internationaux du Québec. To date, six businesses are still in operation, which speaks to the sustainability of these projects fronted by hard-working participants who have overcome adversity and vulnerability.