First round of ‘Start-up Port Hawkesbury’ ends

PORT HAWKESBURY: The first round of the Start-up Port Hawkesbury contest is closed and those who will advance to the second round will be announced in September.

The Start-up Port Hawkesbury contest is a Dragon’s Den-style contest that will see one new business win two years of rent-free space in Port Hawkesbury, pre-qualify for a $20,000 business loan, receive pro-bono legal services, graphic design services, a one-year Strait Area Chamber of Commerce membership, and ongoing support and training from the contest partners.

The first round required entrants to submit a 90 second video pitching their business idea. Entrants who advance to the next round will be required to further refine their idea through a concept paper and a two-minute pitch before the judging panel.

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The contest organizers are pleased with the response so far.

“Twenty pitches were submitted before the September 1 deadline,” says Misty MacDonald, project lead with the Eastern-Strait Regional Enterprise Network (ESREN).

“The interest generated has been tremendous, not only from within the Strait area but also in expanding partnerships for entrepreneurial growth around the province.”

A second workshop will be held on September 21 to assist potential businesses develop a business plan. The timing of this event coincides with the “Mashup Weekend: Oceans Edition” which is being hosted by Island Sandbox and Mashup Lab at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre on September 22 and 23. Interested participants in the workshop can register for the workshop by phoning 902-623-2780 or e-mailing:

Three area judges have been announced.

“We are thrilled to have three experienced business people participate as judges in the contest,” says Mayor of Port Hawkesbury, Brenda Chisholm-Beaton. “It is extremely beneficial that our judges understand the area’s business climate and it is very exciting to have the business community welcome and mentor these new entrepreneurs.”

The three local judges are Wayne MacKay from Canso Ford, Danielle MacDonald from Tim Horton’s, and Tracey Cummings from Subway and Celtic Sisters Gifts.

“You can feel the excitement that Start-Up Port Hawkesbury has generated in the community,” Amanda Mombourquette, exective director of the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce noted. “There’s an atmosphere of optimism, and a real sense that Port Hawkesbury is open for business.”

For contact information or for further information about the Start-up Port Hawkesbury contest, please visit: