NEEPAWA — Local entrepreneurs were rewarded for their hard work and vision at the 9th annual What’s The Big Idea? business event in Neepawa on Oct. 12.

Seven enterprising individuals walked away with a combined total of $12,300 in cash and prizes, after pitching their ideas at the Royal Canadian Legion.

The contestants also had the chance to take part in networking and a trade show, and hear several guest speakers share what it’s like to run a successful business in the area. Guest speakers included Janelle Vachon, owner of Mad Dog Produce; Brent Sorenson and Pam Levandosky from Stride Credit Union, who spoke about how to start or grow a side hustle; and Rob Moman from This N That Manufacturing. A lunch was sponsored by HyLife Foods.

In the afternoon, each entrepreneur took part in the Pitching Parlour to compete for 13 prizes. The Best Pitch of the Day was awarded to Neepawa artist Katy Martin, who received $1,000 from Community Futures Westman. Martin pitched her fine art business – Katy Martin – where she creates oil paintings, studio prints, paint nights and commissioned murals. She also won $300 from the Neepawa Lionelles.

Belinda Critchlow pitched Hid’n Hollow, a toy store in Neepawa that she runs alongside her husband Daryl Critchlow. The store, which offers toys, games, puzzles, books, candy and more, won the Best Overall Idea prize of $1,000 from Stride Credit Union, and $2,000 from the Neepawa and Area Development Corp.

The Little Garden Next Door was pitched by Kim Moffatt of Minnedosa. Moffat’s indoor, year-round vertical wall greenhouse business grows lettuce, herbs and greens for local restaurants as well as neighbours. Her pitch won $500 from MNP, taking the Best Idea in Ag award, $1,000 from the Minnedosa CDC, $500 from the RM of Minto-Odanah and $500 and a one year membership from the Minnedosa Chamber of Commerce.

Brooke Rossnagel pitched ETV Yard Services with a focus on providing a comprehensive range of high-quality home and yard care for Neepawa and the surrounding area. His pitch was awarded $2,000 from the RM of Rosedale.

Stellar Apparel, Neepawa’s newest clothing store owned by Tammy Atkey, won a $1,000 marketing package from PromoTime, the Neepawa Banner and Provost Signs, as well as $500 and a one year membership from the Neepawa & District Chamber of Commerce.

Authentic Skin Injections, which offers anti-aging treatments for skin health and beauty, was pitched by Kristen Clark. Her business received $1,000 from the Town of Minnedosa.

Dan Zettler pitched his vision to start a bowling alley in Neepawa. Neepawa Lanes will offer two lanes of bowling with a retro feel. Zettler also received $1,000 from the Town of Neepawa.

Neepawa Mayor Brian Hedley, who kicked off the event, said What’s The Big Idea? showcases great new business ideas and the people that are driving them.

“Neepawa has a thriving business community due to the entrepreneurial spirit within our trading area,” he said.

Marilyn Crewe, Neepawa’s Economic Development Officer and organizer of the annual event, agrees.

“The What’s The Big Idea? event addresses the questions and challenges faced by new businesses during their startup phase. Local entrepreneurs, business agencies and the Neepawa Economic Development office collaborate to find solutions for business success,” she said.

The event was open to the public and the crowd included business owners, municipal officials as well as a number of business development professionals.

The 2023 What’s the Big Idea? event was sponsored by North Forge Technology Exchange, the Town of Neepawa, HyLife Foods, the Futurpreneur Women’s Enterprise Centre, Economic Development Investment and Trade, and the Rural Manitoba Economic Development Corporation.

Since 2015, 50 businesses have been awarded $78,750 to support their launch and expansion.

By Miranda Leybourne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Oct 26, 2023 at 08:12

This item reprinted with permission from   Brandon Sun   Brandon, Manitoba
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