After two months of promotions, three open-houses and 22 applications, the selection committee has chosen the winner of the Downtown Simcoe Win This Space competition.
The winning business proposal was presented by Jess Bommarito with her company Groundswell Coworking, a co-working space to serve local small businesses and entrepreneurs.
“I’m thrilled my vision to serve the emerging number of people working remotely in Norfolk was selected,” said Ms. Bommarito when she was advised she was the winner. “Groundswell will revolutionize how local entrepreneurs, freelancers, virtual assistants, or all-around creatives who spend the majority of their time working all alone on their laptops, can work, network and generate new ideas.”
Ms. Bommarito is hosting a series of “Lonely Laptopper Hang Outs” across the county to bring together home-based businesses from across Norfolk County. Visit lonelylaptoppers.com to RSVP.
Win This Space was one of the initiatives of Norfolk County’s Urban Renewal Partnership Project. The objective of the Win This Space project was threefold; (1) to have at least one of the empty downtown spaces filled, (2) to assist one budding entrepreneur to take that plunge and realize their business dream and (3) to ultimately add to the revitalization of downtown Simcoe.
Funding for this initiative was provided by Norfolk County and the Province of Ontario under the Main Street Revitalization Initiative.
“I was pleasantly surprised at the quality and caliber of the business plans that were submitted”, said Kayla Deleye, Senior Planner with Norfolk County and project lead. “This confirms what we always suspected, that there are a lot of creative business ideas in our community”.
“Our staff are committed to exploring multiple paths to downtown revitalization in collaboration with our community stakeholders,” said Clark Hoskin, Director of Tourism and Economic Development for Norfolk County.
Win This Space is a proven concept that has been used by other towns across Canada to varying degrees of success. Whereas the focus of this contest was to choose one winner, the ultimate win would be to help a number of the applying entrepreneurs start their own business in downtown Simcoe.
“I plan to meet with the applicants who have put a lot of hard work into their business plans and who are still interested in moving forward with their dream”, said Jim McGimpsey, General Manager of the Simcoe Downtown BIA and Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce and a member of the selection committee. “We are hoping that we can assist some of them to also start their businesses. Other property owners have already stepped forward and have shown an interest in the program having seen the potential to get their storefronts filled with quality tenants. We have also received other ideas on how to attract businesses to the downtown core and we welcome all these ideas. The ultimate objective is to engender a renaissance in downtown Simcoe and I think it has started.”
For more information please contact:
- Jess Bommarito, Groundswell Coworking, 519-718-4169 or whatshappeningat56norfolk.com
- Kayla Deleye, Norfolk County, 519-426-5870 ext. 1828
- Jim McGimpsey, Downtown Simcoe BIA & Simcoe & District Chamber of Commerce, 519-426-5150
More info about Ontario’s Main Street Revitalization Initiative