Darren MacDonald, manager of the business consulting initiative Island Sandbox, coordinated Thursday evening’s workshop for potential entrants in the Start-Up Port Hawkesbury contest that is co-sponsored by the Eastern Strait Regional Enterprise Network and the Town of Port Hawkesbury. The competition’s grand prize winner will receive, among other things, two years’ worth of rent-free space from the town in order to get their business off the ground.

PORT HAWKESBURY: The Town of Port Hawkesbury is open for business.

The Eastern-Strait Regional Enterprise Network (ESREN) and the Town of Port Hawkesbury will be hosting a pop-up video station to coach and film pitches for the Start-up Port Hawkesbury contest. The pop-up station will be hosted on two dates, August 24 from 6-8 p.m. and August 25 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre.

The deadline for the first round of submissions for the contest, a 90-second video pitch, is September 1. Organizers will be in attendance to discuss the elements of a good pitch, to coach participants as they outline and practice their pitch, and to film the pitches at this location.

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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 courtesy of the Town of Port Hawkesbury and the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce, pre-qualify for a $20,000 business loan from InRich CBDC, receive pro-bono legal services from EMM Law, graphic design services from Sara Rankin Design, a one year paid Strait Area Chamber of Commerce membership, and ongoing support and training from the contest partners.

“Countless area residents have approached me to express their excitement about the contest,” says Mayor of Port Hawkesbury, Brenda Chisholm-Beaton. “They see the great value in the collaborative effort to propel new business growth and to enable people to create their own opportunities.”

This aligns with key messaging found in the One Nova Scotia report that suggests that Nova Scotia already possesses the assets and opportunities for economic growth but it is up to its people to find the “courage, imagination and determination to do better.”

“An initiative like this wouldn’t be possible without the commitment of several partners: 101.5 the Hawk, The Reporter, InRich CBDC, EMM Law, Strait Area Chamber, just to name some,” John Beaton, ESREN’s CEO says. “The prize package is substantial but that’s really only the tip of the iceberg – several partners have chipped in their expertise and promotional connections. The Town of Port Hawkesbury really is open for business.”

Anyone with an exciting business idea who would like to submit to the Start-up Port Hawkesbury judging panel can visit the pop-up video stations on August 24 or 25, or schedule an appointment with Misty MacDonald or John Beaton at ESREN. For contact information or for further information about the Start-up Port Hawkesbury contest, please visit: https://esren.ca/start-up-port-hawkesbury/.