Two firms come on top in ‘WIN this Space’ competition

One from Lambton County, one from Sarnia get top marks from judges

Winners of the "Lambton County" company in the WIN this Space competition are, from left, Shannon Shurgold and Laura Rideout of Culture Shock Kombucha.

After a competitive process which included attendance at mandatory business seminars, completion of a fully executable business plan and a LIVE pitch to a panel of local business experts, The River (based in Sarnia) and Culture Shock Kombucha (based in Grand Bend) emerged as the two winners of WIN this Space, a key project aligned with the community economic development strategy of the Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation.

The program is being described as a unique way to highlight the leadership role the SLBDC plays, which includes developing entrepreneurs through business counselling and financing business start-ups and expansions up to $250,000.

With the SLBDC having provided dedicated business counselling and financing since 1988, officials have come to realize that It’s not a lack of solid ideas, but rather a lack of capital that stalls a potentially successful enterprise.

The organization is looking forward to supporting the aspirations of not just the winners, but the other budding entrepreneurs who participated in WIN this Space as well.

A game-changing opportunity was provided thanks to the financial commitment, and active involvement of Libro Credit Union through its Prosperity Fund.

The SLBDC was awarded $20,000 to help finance two locations and create a “WIN this Space” user guide to be shared with other groups interested in running their own program.

“Libro staff was thrilled to have the opportunity to coach entrepreneurs alongside a fantastic organization like SLBDC to help build prosperity in our region,” said Dave Vanos, Libro’s regional manager for Lambton-Middlesex.

Don Anderson, general manager of the SLBDC, said leading the charge for entrepreneurs in Lambton County is ongoing.

“What’s become clear through working with our competitors is they all applied their business education training and advice from business counselling sessions,” he said. “All finalists have executable business plans, enhanced knowledge of what it takes to be an entrepreneur, including making financial projections, key marketing fundamentals and the drive to pursue the dream of running their own business.”

Anderson thanked both Libro and the other key partner, Bluewater Power, as well as the many individuals involved as judges and experts in the business training sessions.

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