Creative way to stimulate and encourage business activity

A new contest to help aspiring business owners is a great idea.

The Eastern Regional Enterprise Network (ESREN) recently unveiled its “Start-Up Port Hawkesbury” contest scheduled for September. The project will have entrepreneurs making their pitches in front of a panel of judges, along the lines of the program Dragon’s Den.

The winning contestant would have to pay utility costs, but would receive a $20,000 loan from the InRich Business Development Centre, and the ESREN would provide support such as training, counselling and mentoring, while connecting entrepreneurs with the necessary resources.

Following a pitch from the ESREN during its regular monthly meeting on March 7, Port Hawkesbury Town Council agreed to donate an available space within the town to the winner.

Port Hawkesbury officials were quick to praise the idea, with town councillor Hughie MacDougall calling it “one of the best ideas that I’ve ever seen.”

Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton noted this contest mitigates the risks and makes the process of starting a business and keeping it going, “less scary.”

The mayor added that she is proud to be part of a process that could help incubate a new business.

As the mayor noted, this is not just about helping a business, but it paves the way for more jobs and investment in the region, and if this contest does nothing else, it will be considered a success.

Aside from having tremendous potential, this is an admirably original idea. Although it cribs from the concept of a TV program, the fact that it is being rolled out to help the local economy and give new businesses a boost demonstrates that the new economic development entity is willing to think outside the box.

It is this type of creativity which can help spur development and activity, which can avoid the mistakes of the past and which has the potential to genuinely help prospective business owners.

By helping local entrepreneurs, the town and the entire region benefit, and that’s something worthy of praise and support.