Win This Space
The Contest at a Glance
Unleash Your Inner Entrepreneur
Have you always thought about starting your own business? Are you already a business owner who has another great idea for a new business downtown? Do you have a unique business idea and you just need a push to get going? This may be just the opportunity you’ve been looking for. The St. Catharines Downtown Association wants to inspire your entrepreneurial spirit and is providing an opportunity that is designed to:
- Help open the door to your new business
- Provide you with business support and education
- Offer a prize of financial and in-kind support
The Grand Prize is one-year rent sponsorship up to $24,000 (not including utilities or leasehold improvements) – plus additional prizes from various community businesses including valuable in-kind professional business services to help you succeed in your business venture.
What’s Your Business Idea?
To get started, you just need a great idea for a business in downtown St. Catharines. Your idea should be based on some research that supports its relevance and ability to contribute to a vibrant downtown St. Catharines.
Send Us Your Business Idea Between Oct 10th & Nov 22nd!
Use our contest Entry Form and include:
- Your name and address
- Your phone number and e-mail
- No more than 500 words on your business idea – and how you would contribute to a vibrant Downtown. Also tell us a bit about you and any business experience you might have.
An optional 1 to 3-minute video can also be included to assist you in getting an idea across but will not be part of the scoring process. Only the written submission will be scored according to predetermined criteria. See Rules and Regulations - Appendix B – Preliminary Submission Scorecard.
Selected Candidates & Finalists
Our Panel of Judges will select up to 15 (fifteen) of the top business ideas as Finalists. If the Panel chooses you, you will be asked to develop your business idea by attending four (4) business education workshops and, ultimately, submit:
- A business plan
- A financial plan
- A marketing plan
The Panel of Judges will score these plans according to a predetermined set of criteria. Following the scoring, up to 7 (seven) Top Finalists will be chosen to deliver a pitch to the Panel of Judges where questions will be posed to the contestants about their proposed businesses.
The St. Catharines Enterprise Centre will be delivering FREE business development workshops and mentoring to assist you with building a solid and viable business idea and developing comprehensive business, financial and marketing plans accordingly. Finalists are required to complete 4 workshops in order to compete in the contest. See our FAQ’s and Rules & Regulations for more info.
Will YOU Win This Space in Downtown St. Catharines?
Top finalists will attend the Grand Finale event where they will be introduced to the audience and invited to share their business idea in a 3 to 4-minute pitch. The winner of the contest will be announced at the Finale event. See Rules & Regulations – Appendix A – Important Dates, Timeline & Locations
PROPERTY OWNERS – Showcase Your Available Properties
Are you a landlord with an available “for lease”, street level space in downtown St. Catharines? Your space can become part of the Win This Space competition. Contact Tracy Jennings, Win This Space Coordinator directly at 905-685-8424 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
By participating in the Win This Space competition, your ‘available for lease’ property gets additional exposure, with:
- Eye-catching, full-colour posters for Win This Space in your storefront window
- Promotion by the St. Catharines Downtown Association through its website, promotional materials & potential media coverage
Win This Space will bring more interest to your available space. You are free to continue to show your property to potential tenants. If you happen to lease your space during the competition, that is great! Just let us know so we can keep our list of available properties up-to-date.
We offer the warmest thanks and deepest appreciation for sharing their Win This Space contest resources, information and experiences with us.
- Municipality of Huron East Economic Development
- Downtown Peterborough BIA
- Downtown Sudbury BIA
Enter the Win This Space Contest
The St. Catharines Downtown Association (SCDA) ‘Win This Space’ is an innovative business recruitment initiative, designed to encourage entrepreneurial activity in Downtown St. Catharines. The ‘Win This Space’ competition offers an opportunity for new and aspiring entrepreneurs to put their business ideas into action and make their dreams a reality.
This is how it works:
Send us your business pitch in no more than 500 words by 4pm, Thursday, November 22, 2018. An optional 1 to 3-minute video can also be included to assist with outlining your idea (it is not part of the scoring process). Provide the URL. We suggest you keep the video for our private viewing and do not make it public to protect your idea.
- You could be selected as one of the Finalists (mid December 2018)
- Successfully complete 4 workshops, in January at the St. Catharines Enterprise Centre & create a business plan
- Business plans will be scored by a panel of judges and Top Finalists will be announced the end of Feb 2019
- Top Finalists will give a business plan presentation with a Q&A to a panel of judges (Early March 2019)
- Top Entrepreneur will be announced at Finale Event mid-March
- The Grand Prize winner is awarded rent support for a downtown storefront for 1 year (up to $24,000 – not including utilities or leasehold improvements), plus additional prizes to assist with business start-up and longevity – and be open for business July 2019
You can apply to ‘Win This Space’ if you:
- Are 19 years of age or older ... and ... Are legally living in the Province of Ontario
- Have a business as a sole proprietorship or in partnership or small business corporation & are not a franchise
- Are willing to commit to signing a minimum 1-year lease for one of the participating spaces
Enter by Email or In Person
To submit your entry by email or in person, please download the entry form and submit the completed form along with required 500 word Business Idea Submission via email to email@example.com or in person drop-off to the St. Catharines Downtown Association office.
To submit your entry online, please complete the form below and upload your 500 word Business Idea Submission as a Word Doc (.doc, .docx) or in PDF format (.pdf). NOTE: If you receive a filetype error message, please ensure that your file includes the file extension in the file name, i.e. MySubmission.docx or BusinessIdea.pdf. If you are sharing a video with us, please include a link in the field provided.
Frequently Asked Questions About Win This Space
Who is eligible to participate in Win This Space?
The competition is open to all legal residents of Canada, 19 years of age or older at the time of submitting a business idea for the competition. The applicant must be living in the Province of Ontario. You must be looking to open a business in Downtown St. Catharines.
What is the St. Catharines Downtown Association and what is its mandate?
Check out www.mydowntown.ca/about-us
What kinds of businesses are eligible for the Win This Space competition?
- Independently owned (sole proprietorship) or partnerships or small business corporations
- Home-based businesses looking to make the move to a storefront
- Businesses that conform to zoning/by-laws for downtown as required by the City of St. Catharines
Types of business ideas that will not be given consideration:
- The purchasing or taking over of an existing business
- Multi-level marketing business ideas
- Full service restaurants
Contest Information Sessions
Wednesday October 17 at 10:00am
Tuesday October 23 at 6:00pm
Mahtay Cafe & Lounge, 241 St. Paul Street, Downtown St. Catharines
What type of time commitment will be involved to participate in the contest?
You will be required to commit a significant amount of time to participate in the contest. There will be 4 mandatory business workshops that will take two evenings to complete (6 hours total). You will have to do market research and a lot of thinking about the details of your business. You will have to create a detailed business plan, marketing plan and financial plan. You will also have to create a presentation for the judges if you are chosen to proceed to the final phase. There is another 3-hour seminar that will not be mandatory but would be advisable to attend. It will focus on structuring a business plan presentation and how to present the plan, and yourself, to the judges for the most effective result. You will also be invited to tour some available properties (2 hours). You may also need to attend the Finale event and give a short presentation. (2-hour event)
If I already own a business, can I still enter Win This Space?
Absolutely!! If you have solid multi-tasking skills, then submit your idea. If you are a current business owner, the business idea must be either 1) be unrelated to your existing business, or 2) introduce a new element not promoted at your existing business, or 3) expand upon an element that would be removed from your existing business 4) your current location is not in Downtown St. Catharines.
I am interested in launching a business with a partner – do we both need to put in applications?
No, only one application needs to be submitted by one of the partners, but definitely cite that you’re a partnership. Note the partners and the skills that they bring and how they will enhance the business idea and your success.
Do I need to work in the business daily?
It is encouraged, but you are not necessarily expected to work in the winning space/business on a daily basis. If you are selected as a Finalist, your business plan and financial plan must reflect appropriate salaries and related expenses for staff.
Can I submit more that one idea?
Yes, you can! If you have a few ideas that you feel are viable businesses for Downtown St. Catharines, then submit them.
Please note that only one of your ideas can be selected since candidates will be required to focus their time and energy on the development of one business concept during the required business workshops. For example, each selected candidate will be creating a detailed business plan, a marketing strategy, and delving into financial details.
How are finalists and the winner selected?
From the initial entries, up to 15 finalists will be chosen. These finalists must then develop and refine their business concept and create a full business plan including a marketing strategy and a financial plan. Finalists will be required to take advantage of FREE business development workshops and mentoring offered by the St. Catharines Enterprise Centre and Innovate Niagara.
Participants will then be narrowed down to the Top Finalists who will be required to create a short presentation and pitch it to our panel of judges also answering questions posed by the judges. Based on both the business plan and live presentation/Q&A, our panel of judges will score each Top Finalist and determine one Grand Prize Winner. For additional information, please read our Rules & Regulations.
Can the Judges’ decisions be reconsidered?
No. Our panel of judges’ selections, judgments and decisions will be final and binding.
What are the Business Development Workshops?
The workshops will provide the education needed to help Finalists develop a business idea, as well as guide their research, and create the business plan components. There are 4 mandatory workshops that Finalists must attend. They will take place one evening per week (3 hours) over a two-week period. Two workshops will be given on each evening. The workshops will be held at the St. Catharines Enterprise Centre in downtown St. Catharines. They are FREE to all contestants. The Enterprise Centre will also provide mentorship during the preparation of your business plan and ongoing support after the contest if you open a business. For workshop scheduling information see Rules & Regulations - Appendix A - Important Dates, Timeline and Locations.
For more information about the St. Catharines Enterprise Centre visit: www.stcatharines.ca/en/investin/StartingaBusiness.asp
Who will see my Win This Space entry and any other submissions?
Your Win This Space entry and any other submissions (i.e. Business Plan, Marketing Strategy, Financial Plan) may be seen by the following: St. Catharines Downtown Business Association Board of Management, Executive Director and Win This Space Coordinator, the City of St. Catharines Economic Development Officer, St. Catharines Enterprise Centre Staff, and the Win This Space panel of judges.
What Happens If I Am the Winner?
The winner must commit to signing a minimum 1-year lease with one of the participating spaces that are available at the end of the competition. A lease agreement needs to be in place before the winner receives any prize winnings. For additional information, see contest Rules & Regulations.
Where are the locations I can choose from if I win?
All locations will be in downtown St. Catharines within the BIA boundary (see Map). We will always be seeking locations and will update online as they are confirmed or change throughout the contest. Available spaces will be dynamic as landlords may receive offers to lease in the interim and are not required to “hold” properties or decline a qualified tenant.
What kind of businesses are permitted in the designated BIA area?
The City of St. Catharines Zoning By-law Dec. 16, 2013 outlines zoning and permitted uses.
- Page 209 – Map of Downtown Core and Zoning
- Pages 23 to 28 – Section 4.1 and 4.2 should be referenced.
NOTE: Contestants must confirm with the City of St. Catharines Planning Department if their proposed business is allowable under the zoning for the area.
When Would I be Required to Sign a Lease?
The winner should work to have a lease agreement for one of the available spaces within 60 days of winning the competition. The lease agreement and terms will be agreed upon by the landlord/property agent and the winner, and not involve the St. Catharines Downtown Association, contest sponsors or the panel of judges. For additional information, see contest Rules & Regulations.
What If I Win but Cannot Obtain a Lease?
If the winner cannot obtain a lease agreement within 60 days of winning, the prize could be forfeited. The first runner up could be contacted and start a new 60-day window to sign a lease agreement. For additional information, see contest Rules & Regulations.
If I Win, Can I Ask for a Different Prize of Equal Value?
Sorry – no. The prize is not transferable and may not be redeemed for cash.
Where can I see the contest Rules & Regulations for Win This Space?
Click here to download the contest Rules & Regulations.
Win This Space Contest Rules & Regulations and Important Dates are subject to change. Any contest updates will be posted on our webpage.
Other questions about Win This Space?
Please contact Tracy Jennings, Win This Space Coordinator, St. Catharines Downtown Association at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 905-685-8424.
Will YOU Win This Space in Downtown St. Catharines?
Available properties are subject to change throughout the contest. The Grand Prize winner will choose from properties that are available upon contest completion.
11 King Street
Square footage of space: 2000
Rent: $2,000 per month (includes taxes, water, heat)
Extra costs: Hydro
Last use: Office space with multiple rooms - walls can be removed easily
Number of bathrooms: 2 - on street level
Special features: High ceilings, corner exposure, lots of windows
Level of improvement required: Medium
13 King Street
Square footage of space: 1000
Rent: $1,300 per month
Extra costs: none
Last use: Currently storage (Kudo mobile before that)
Number of bathrooms: 1 – in basement
Special features: High ceilings, Open Space
Level of improvement required: Low - Medium
21 King Street
Square footage of space: 900
Rent: $1,600 per month
Extra costs: none
Last use: Barbershop and Tattoo Parlour
Number of bathrooms: 1 – main floor
Special features: High ceilings, Open Space, Exposed Brick, Patio Doors, Cozy, Outside patio
Level of improvement required: Low
21 Ontario Street
Square footage of space: 1689
Rent: $2,540 per month
Extra costs: Gas, Hydro
Last use: Furniture Store
Number of bathrooms: 0
Special features: Hardwood flooring, Possible Exposed Brick, Drywalled Ceiling
Level of improvement required: High
23 Ontario Street
Square footage of space: 1197
Rent: $1,800 per month
Extra costs: Gas & Hydro
Last use: Furniture Store
Number of bathrooms: 1 – basement
Special features: Drywalled ceiling, Hardwood Floors, Possible Exposed Brick
Level of improvement required: High
74-76 St. Paul Street
Square footage of space: 1600
Rent: $2,200 per month (includes taxes)
Extra costs: gas, electricity
Last use: Student residential at street level
Number of bathrooms: 1
Kitchen: Yes, with fridge and stove
Special features of space: New, large front windows, Small outside space for tables and chairs, Iron gating, Parking
Level of improvement that interior required: Low – Medium. Property owner will assist tenant to prepare space for their business needs.