The aim was to inspire people to become entrepreneurs, which would then fill empty storefronts
Six potential entrepreneurs are going on to the second phase of a Win This Space competition in Burk’s Falls.
The six qualified by describing their business concept in addition to detailing how their potential business would be sustainable and who they were targeting as potential customers.
Municipal clerk Nicky Kunkel told council the six participants have proposed a variety of potential businesses, including a bakery, a grab-and-go restaurant and tourism promotional material.
The participants will next go through a series of workshops taught by staff at the Women’s Own Resource Centre and The Business Centre.
Because of COVID-19, Kunkel says the workshops will be carried out virtually.
“By the end of the six workshops they’ll have all the components they need,” she said.
“They’ll be trained on how to prepare a business plan and do a cost analysis.”
The goal of the business plan and cost analysis is to create a successful business.
“When they pitch (to the judges) they will have a full plan on how to sustain their business,” Kunkel said.
The participants will pitch their completed business proposal to a panel of local judges in April, who then decide which entrepreneur has the best plan.
The municipality will award the winner a one-year contract to operate free at the Welcome Centre.
The winner is expected to open up shop as the tourist season gets underway this spring.
The Win This Space concept was started in the Town of Uxbridge several years ago when the community’s local Business Improvement Association held the first Win This Space competition.
The aim was to inspire people to become entrepreneurs, which would then fill empty storefronts.
The concept was well received and in 2014 the Uxbridge BIA won in the category of the Business Retention and Expansion at the Ontario BIA Achievement Awards Conference.
Since then, many other Ontario communities have been running their own Win This Space competitions.
Burk’s Falls jumped on board this year in partnership with Almaguin Community Economic Development (ACED), NECO – the Community Futures Development Corporation – the Business Centre and the Women’s Own Resource Centre.
Like Uxbridge, Burk’s Falls is hoping Win This Space gives entrepreneurs the tools they need to consider starting their own business and in the process create jobs that fill empty storefronts.
Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.