AMHERST – Got an idea for a new small business or how to expand an existing one?
A group of Cumberland County business owners want to hear your pitch and they’re willing to reward the best one with $5,000 in money and support services.
“We have come up with an idea for a small business competition for a business to be created or expanded in Cumberland County,” Sue McIsaac of McIsaac-Darragh Chartered Accountants said. “The winner will announced during Small Business Week and the prize package is a good one in that it includes cash, products and services.”
Those interested in competing can get applications from sponsoring businesses as well as from chambers of commerce in Amherst and Springhill, the board of trade in Parrsboro and municipal offices across Cumberland County.
More information is available at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joining McIsaac on the committee are Mike Stack of Archway Insurance, Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin of Manesseh Market, Dave McNairn of Hicks LeMoine law office, Mark Casey of the Maltby-Casey Group and CIBC Wood Gundy and Ron Furlong of Advantage Homes.
Successful applicants will have their chance to pitch their business plan to a panel of judges during Small Business Week in October and that winning submission will be awarded later that week.
“We want to encourage people who are thinking of starting a new business or thinking of expanding an existing small business to do it,” McIsaac said. “This will give them a chance to test it out in front of the judges and if they win they will get some cash and some services to help them develop their plan.”
McIsaac said the objective is a viable business operating in Cumberland County.
Smith-McCrossin said there are a number of criteria participants must show including financial projections, management plans and a target market.
Stack said there will be a cross-section of business owners from across the county.
“We’re doing this to benefit the county as a whole, not just Amherst or any one community,” Stack said.
The group of business owners has been meeting since the Ivany report was released earlier this year. McIsaac said the group read the report and wanted to take the initiative by helping grow Cumberland County’s economy.
The group met with John Bragg, the president of Oxford Frozen Foods and a member of Ivany’s commission, and came up with the idea of having the Pitch It contest. She said the group bought into Ivany’s suggestion that the business community take the initiative in growing the economy.
McIsaac said Ivany’s messages that it’s now or never and that business needs to lead got the group in motion. Smith-McCrossin said all committee members see the county’s potential.
“We have so much going for us in terms of resources and such great community people. We see enormous potential, we’re just trying to be the catalyst,” she said.
Stack said being on the committee has been an eye-opener for him because he has come to learn there are resources here they had never thought of.
“When you talk to people it’s amazing what you learn we have in resources and how we’re not putting them to work for us,” Stack said. “We’re not capitalizing on it. A lot of it is because no one has taken the initiative.”
The business competition is just the first initiative this group has come up with and is following the example of Pictou County, which is organizing a similar competition.
“We want to give full credit to Pictou County. They have a similar group with a similar purpose and they got together around the same time we did. The business competition was their idea and we’ve been talking to them,” McIsaac said.