Do you have a great restaurant concept? Would you like to win a $25,000 prize package to open that business in the Village of Ripley?
If so, Huron-Kinloss Township is looking for you.
The township launched its "Win This Space" contest in late September and is urging budding entrepreneurs to submit their ideas before the Oct. 27 deadline.
Michelle Goetz, community development officer, says this is a pilot project in downtown Ripley to assist in filling vacant commercial space. The focus for the inaugural contest is to fill the former Farmers Diner location at 75 Huron St.
Applications are available on the municipal website at www.huronkinloss.com/winthisspace.cfm. To apply, fill out the on-line form and submit a one- to three-minute video that explains the restaurant concept and why it would be successful in Ripley.
A judging panel will review the submissions and invite up to five finalists to proceed to the next level which includes business-plan writing, mentoring and workshops, says Goetz.
The finalists will attend five seminars offered through Bruce County's Business to Bruce program and write a business plan with program staff, between October and January, 2018. In mid-January, they will submit their business plans to the judging panel, and the top three to five contestants will continue to stage three which requires them to make a five- to 10-minute presentation of their plan to the judges, followed by a question-and-answer period.
The winner will be announced Jan. 31, 2018.
The $25,000 prize package includes:
- $4,500 in rent
- $2,500 start-up grant
- $3,000 in marketing training
- Facade and signage improvements
- Promotions and advertising
- Business memberships and discounts
- Telephone and Internet services
Goetz says the $2,500 start-up grant will come from the township through the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) community well-being fund.
Depending on the success of this pilot program, the township will continue to offer the Win This Space program annually in Lucknow and Ripley to fill vacant commercial spaces in the downtown areas, says Goetz.