Local News

BCGW’s ‘Win This Space’ competition gives entrepreneurs a chance to win prime retail space

Story by: Kayla Kreutzberg

Photo by: Business Centre Guelph-Wellington

The Business Centre Guelph-Wellington (BCGW) is putting on an exciting competition that will match business owners with coveted retail space in downtown Guelph.

There’s $40,000 in prizes available, including cash, rent incentives, and business mentorship.

Kristel Manes, executive director of the BCGW said the Win This Space competition itself is trying to make sure they draw out entrepreneurs.

“They could be just launching or starting up, but helping them through a training component where we’re going to do some business training, some business planning with them, getting them in preparation, and getting their idea so that it’s viable and sustainable, because we want to make sure we launch a business that is going to be good for the community just not in the short time, but a long time,” Manes said.

Manes said those who apply to enter the competition will go through five weeks of training created specifically for bricks-and-mortar businesses, with sessions on business development, marketing, operations, and financial management.

Applicants will then compete in a pitch qualifier, where five selected finalists will move on to pitch their business idea to a panel of judges and commercial property owners.

Mane said applicants are then potentially matched with landlords who are invested in bringing good people and businesses into the community.

“The landlords who agree to step forward will be part of the judging panel, and so, if the […] [applicants] are successful with their business in the space then it’s a win-win for the landlord as well because, you know, they’re getting guaranteed rent, guaranteed income from tenants that are running successful businesses,” Manes said.

She said the only thing that would not be eligible for the competition are franchises.

Manes said another great thing about the competition is it’s not just for the immediate winner, there are prize packs for all those who participate in the final pitch.

“The first prize winner will get $20,000 in cash plus a negotiated more positive rent friendly lease for the first year of business,” she said.

The competition is a partnership with the Downtown Guelph Business Association (DGBA) and Invest in Guelph.

The application deadline is by 4 p.m. on January 29, 2021.

Applications and more information can be found by clicking here.