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Almost $10,000 Awarded at “What’s the BIG Idea?” Event

posted Oct 30, 2017, 9:30 AM by Kathy Carr
October 19 was a day of enthusiasm and ex­citement at the third annual What’s the BIG Idea, where almost $10,000 in cash prizes was awarded to six innovative entrepreneurs from across the region.  
While the Minnedosa CDC and the Town of Neepawa returned as partners, the Town of Carberry was welcomed to host this year’s Dra­gon’s Den style entrepreneurship event at the Carberry Memorial Hall. The early part of the day offered opportunity for networking in a trade-show environment with a variety of business support agencies, followed by presentations on all things entrepreneurial. The afternoon’s Pitch Parlour saw engaging and inspiring pitches from seven regional entrepreneurs, competing for cash prizes in 15 different categories.
Of the 15 prizes available, Neepawa’s Amy Spring collected four totalling $2950 for her business ‘Fueled by Adventure’. Prizes inc­luded $2000 from NADCO, $500 from the Neepawa Chamber of Commerce, $150 from Neepawa Lionelle’s ‘Best Pitch for a Business to be located in Neepawa’ and a $300 prize for RBC’s ‘Best Pitch of the Day’.  
The business was born when Amy left teaching to explore the increasingly popular field of experiential tourism, and making authentic travel experiences ac­cessible for adventure seekers.
The next BIG winner at the event, was Car­berry’s Emma Denton, pitching ‘Emmas Cus­tom Creations’. The humorous pitch for high quality, attractive custom bras was awarded $2750 in prizes including $1000 from local business and sponsor, MSPrebiotics, $1000 from the Town of Car­berry, and a $750 prize from the Munici­pality of North Cyp­ress/Langford. The hand­­made samples were a testament to the impeccable final product, while Emma’s pitch detailed the process of creation, from initial consult to final fitting and left the ladies in the room dreaming up their own designs!
Shay McLenehan walked away with $1450 to launch his tech-startup, ‘Special FX Produc­tions’.  A graduate of the Interactive Media Arts program at Assiniboine Community College, Shay plans to specialize in high-quality video production, and social media management services for small to medium business. Shay walked away from the event with $1000 from the Minnedosa Area CDC, and another $450 for the coveted ‘Best Overall Idea’ award from Westoba Credit Union, Beautiful Plains Credit Union, and Minnedosa Credit Union. 
Brenda Dote earned $1000 from the Town of Neepawa for her party decorating business, ‘Dream Parties’ which saw a colourful, cheerful display on site. ‘Gunny­Sack Acres’, a spray-free CSA farm and vegetable market pitched by Morghan Wark, grew by $750, earning $500 from the RM of Minto-Odanah and $250 from Prairie Oasis. Ryan Mackay, pitching ‘Trans­­for­mative Elect­rolysis’ was awarded $250 and a year’s membership from the Minnedosa Chamber of Commerce. The 2017 event rewarded six new entrepreneurs, setting a record for the highest number of new businesses supported at the event, and the highest amount of prize money awarded, which came in at an impressive grand total of $9150.
Entrepreneurs and attendees of the event were treated to presentations and networking opportunities with in­dustry agencies and business owners, including Earl McLaren of MSPrebiotics, RBC, Futurprenur, Entrep­reneur­ship Manitoba, BDC, Manitoba Agricul­ture, World Trade Centre Winnipeg and Community Futures Westman.
The event would not have been complete without hearing from winners of past events, including 2016 winner, Kennedy Baker talking about her experience launching XK10 Designs which has secured a contract with the Winnipeg Jets selling custom branded shoes in the Jets Store, and ear­ned her a trip to the Manitoba Legislative Assembly to honour her success. Other past winners showcased included Satori Counselling, previously Valley Art Therapy, a 2016 winner who opened in Minne­dosa, inside the Inspire Studio of Fine Art, a winner at the 2015 event. Darryn Cameron of 4U Home Décor and Consulting in Neepawa, a 2015 winner finished off the day before prizes were awarded. 
The 2015 and 2016 events each assisted three new businesses to launch, plus the expansion of a fourth each year, while this year’s event is supporting six new businesses across Westman. The annual event is receiving attention from across the province and into Sas­katchewan, with interest in how communities can replicate the idea and stimulate their local economy by asking “What is the next BIG idea?”

by Chantelle Parrott, Economic Development Officer, Minnedosa and Area CDC