‘Start Up Port Hawkesbury’ offers great opportunities

A contest for new businesses has the potential to not only help entrepreneurs but improve the local ecomomy.

On July 1, the Eastern-Strait Regional Enterprise Network (ESREN) and the Town of Port Hawkesbury launched “Start Up Port Hawkesbury,” a contest with the goal of stimulating the local economy. The REN described the competition as like Dragon’s Den, the popular television show where business owners try to convince investors to back their ideas.

The local contest will have three rounds with the first round involving people submitting a 90-second video describing the business idea and why they want to open a business in the town.

Round 2 entails participants presenting their pitches to a panel of judges. From there, the plan is to narrow the contest down to three finalists who will then present a final business plan. Organizers want the final stage to take place during Small Business Week in November.

The winners will get two years of free rent at a business location in Port Hawkesbury of their choice. They will also receive pro bono legal services, $20,000 in pre-approved business financing, and other prizes.

Organizers hope people will submit their videos as soon as possible to the Web site: www.esren.ca by clicking on the “Start Up Port Hawkesbury” link.

Hopefully, many prospective and new business owners will take part in this contest which was organized to spur business activity, particularly around start-ups. It was very encouraging that organizers have received “significant interest” from people wanting to start a business.

And why wouldn’t there be interest and a significant number of applicants? The prize package alone can greatly assist any business and the publicity from the contest is essentially free advertising.

Above all, the successful applicants will have helped themselves, and most importantly, the economy of this region.