Local start-ups and businesses without a permanent location have the chance to win free space for one year.
The Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation (SLBDC) is operating a “Win this Space” contest inviting entrepreneurs to apply for the chance to win a rent-free year in one of two locations in either Sarnia or Lambton Shores.
Candidates must submit a written entry, which includes a business plan, by Friday, August 4, at 5 p.m. to have their business considered in the competition and are welcome to submit an optional, short video — between one and three minutes long — to reinforce their application.
The business plan is ultimately what contestants will be judged on, said Don Anderson, general manager with the SLBDC.
Anderson’s tip for vying entrepreneurs is to do a lot of good research. Knowing your product, your market, your competition, your cost, your margins, and your clients, all helps, said Anderson.
A committee will select the top ten businesses to advance to the second phase of competition where they will participate in a series of four mandatory sessions on fundamentals of business operations, presented by the SLBDC and Win this Space partners, according to the contest rules.
“We’re not looking for anything specific,” said Anderson. “If they have a business idea and are prepared to work with us through the process to develop a business plan that’s executable we’re open to any legal business.”
“We would look at a virtual business, a traditional store front, if it’s something you’re passionate about, let’s see if we can move it forward,” said Anderson.
Anderson said he expects to see as many as 40 to 50 applications, citing similar contest in Peterborough and Huron County.
“This is an opportunity to promote entrepreneurship in the community and encourage people to look at being self-employed as a career option,” said Anderson.
The contest also demonstrates to young people that Sarnia-Lambton is a good place to live, make an income, and operate a business, Anderson said.
“Small business creates most of the new jobs,” he said.