Third "Win This Space" focused on Brussels - July 20, 2017
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Brussels will be home of the third-ever Huron East Win This Space competition, which will foster creativity and provide plenty of incentive to motivated entrepreneurs in the area.
Jan Hawley, Huron East’s economic development officer, officially launched the program last week and is looking for submissions before the Sept. 1 deadline.
The program has proven successful in its past two forms. It asks local entrepreneurs to apply to a panel of judges with their business idea. The program then provides applicants with compulsory business training and fosters their plans along, ahead of someone winning the grand prize: a year’s free rent and thousands in other in-kind services.
The first time the program was rolled out was in 2015 and it focused on Brussels and Seaforth, but Hawley feels that because Seaforth is a larger community, the program inadvertently became focused on Seaforth, with the majority of contestants seeking commercial space in that town, as opposed to Brussels.
The second roll-out of the program was focused on available industrial space in Vanastra, which Hawley says was also a success, albeit with a slightly different focus than the retail- and service-oriented original Win This Space.
The third Win This Space will be focused entirely on Brussels, encouraging local people with great business ideas to set up shop in the village with 12 months of paid rent awaiting the grand prize winner this fall.
Hawley says that with the construction of Brian Morton’s Four Winds Barn project and the impending revitalization of a number of downtown buildings, it’s “Brussels’ time” right now and it’s the perfect occasion to focus on the village and economic development within it.
The third installment of Win This Space has been partially funded by Huron County and Hawley says it’s been one of the shining programs within the world of economic development in Huron County. She said it took the department “30 seconds” to approve the Win This Space application.
The finale of the Win This Space program is set for Saturday, Oct. 21 in Brussels at the Four Winds Barn. Not only are there a number of vacant storefronts in Brussels that could serve as potential sites for businesses, but Morton is also offering space in Four Winds as well.
Submissions are due by Friday, Sept. 1 and can be submitted in writing or using video by e-mailing to Hawley at firstname.lastname@example.org or forms can be picked up at the Huron East Municipal Office in Seaforth.
As for submissions, Hawley says they are of a casual nature in which she asks applicants to explain their concept for a business and provide some of the details.
For more information on the program, visit the municipality’s website at www.huroneast.com.