Brockville, Ontario



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Business Plan Competition celebrates entrepreneurship

In these dark economic times, four young entrepreneurs shone a little light on the often under-celebrated, yet fastest-growing, world of small business, during the recent Lanark, Leeds and Grenville Business Plan Competition awards, held at the Marianne van Silfhout Gallery at St. Lawrence College, last Tuesday morning. Brockville’s Jessica Van Dusen, who offers accessible alternative dance and fitness classes, with MOJO dance and fitness, along with clean energy combustion technologist, Glen Clarke, of Sphenic Technologies (Kemptville), and artisan cheese producers, Kyle White and Caitlin Hynes-Dobson, of Smiths Falls, owner/operators of Rural Route Cheese Company,  won in their respective categories, and received a welcome boost of $1000 each, for their unique and innovative businesses, while Noel White, of Smiths Falls, took home the competition’s top-prize, of $5000.00, courtesy of the Eastern Ontario Centre for Advanced Technology (EASTCAT), St. Lawrence College, for his high-quality scale model business, Monolith Architectural Models.

“The calibre of plans we saw this year were far greater than I’ve ever seen,” said judge, David Keenleyside, adding that he, along with the four other local expert judges, reviewed more than 27 business plans throughout the competition, and faced a ‘tough choice’ when deciding on the winners.

“There isn’t a person in this room who isn’t a winner today,” added Leeds-Grenville Small Business Enterprise Centre manager, and competition facilitator, Wendy Onstein.

Onstein, who hosted the awards ceremony, along with Lanark-North Leeds Small Business Enterprise Centre manager, Cindy James, continued that the intent of the competition is to provide support to a brand new business and encourage economic growth, a residual benefit, noted James, is to promote the partners by increasing awareness of the resources that support small business within the community. 

The competition, which is funded through EASTCAT, St. Lawrence College, the Grenville Futures Development Program, 1,000 Islands Community Development Corporation and Valley Heartland Community Futures Development Program, also highlights the participant’s contributions to the region's economy in that they tend to buy their supplies from other area businesses ‘whenever possible.’

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