Q. WHAT IS THE PROCESS?
There are five stages to the contest:
Stage 1: Application Submission
Applications will be accepted starting January 1, 2019 with the deadline for entries being midnight on March 1, 2019. To apply click here.
Stage 2: Qualifier Selection
All applications will be evaluated by the Founders based on the following criteria:
Regional Economic Impact. Will the business generate economic activity and create jobs in Muskoka?
Scalability. Does the business have the potential to grow to a large size?
Profitability. Is there a reasonable expectation of profitability and how sustainable is it?
Innovation. Is the new business innovative in its products, service delivery or approach?
Demand. Is there demonstrable demand for the product or service and is it likely to grow?
Up to 10 qualifiers will be selected to move on to the next stage.
For a more detailed description of the selection criteria, click here.
Stage 3: Video Day
Qualifiers will be notified of their selection on or before March 8th, 2019. On Saturday, March 16th all qualifiers will attend a video recording session where they will present their business idea in front of a video recording crew. Recordings will be used to create professionally produced videos that will be shown to the judges and later given to the qualifiers for their own marketing and promotion use.
The selection committee will then score the video presentations based on the above criteria. The top five qualifiers will become finalists and move on to the next stage.
Stage 4: Meet the Founders
On Tuesday March 26th the five finalists will meet individually with a group of Muskoka Founders for a question and answer session. The objective of the session is for the finalists to make an impression on the Founders by articulating their business plan succinctly and answering questions. The Founders will have seen the video presentations and will be prepared to test the finalists’ knowledge and conviction.
Following the interviews, the Founders will meet to determine the first and second place finishers for the 2019 Founders Choice Awards.
Stage 5: The Awards Dinner
All five finalists will be expected to attend the IMPACT Awards gala dinner on April 11th at the JW Marriott Rosseau in Minett. Each finalist will receive two free tickets to attend the event. Finalists will be recognized for their achievements, and vignettes of the video presentations will be shown. At the end of the evening, the first and second Founders Choice prize winners will be announced.
Q. What ARE the prizeS?
At the IMPACT Awards gala dinner on April 11th, 2019 the first-place prize winner will receive a cheque for $15,000 and the second-place prize winner will receive a cheque for $5,000.
Q. ARE THERE RESTRICTIONS ON HOW I USE THE PRIZE MONEY?
We are looking for entrepreneurs whose business is at a stage where the prize money will play a significant role in helping the entrepreneur launch or grow the business. Therefore the money must be spent on the business, to purchase capital equipment or pay for other business-related expenses. During the interviews you will be asked how you intend to use the prize money.
Q. WHAT ARE THE RULES? HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M ELIGIBLE?
For a list of rules and regulations, click here.
Q. WHAT CAN I DO WITH MY VIDEO?
The video is yours to keep and use however you see fit. We expect you will use it to help promote your business on your website, in presentations, etc. It will be a high quality, professionally produced video, and is one of the benefits of competing in this competition and being selected as a qualifier.
q. HOW MANY APPLICATIONS CAN I SUBMIT?
There is a limit of one (1) entry per person/business per year.
Q. I ENTERED LAST YEAR. CAN I ENTER AGAIN THIS YEAR WITH THE SAME BUSINESS?
You may enter your business as often as you’d like but not if you’ve previously won a Founders Choice Award for that business.