Local Entrepreneurs Pitch Their “Big Ideas”.

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A full house is expected on Thursday at ArtsForward in Neepawa when the community hosts "What's the Big Idea?" – an entrepreneurial pitch competition offering funding to launch new rural businesses. With more than $8,000 in cash prizes up for grabs, competition is expected to be fierce.

The event debuted last year when the communities of Minnedosa and Neepawa partnered to see what ideas existed in for new ventures on the rural landscape. Six aspiring entrepreneurs made their pitch and as a result of the event, three new businesses have opened their doors over the past year. The Inspire Studio of Fine Art in Minnedosa was the big winner, taking home three prizes including the RBC "Best Pitch of the Day" and has since opened a gallery on Minnedosa's Main Street. 4U Home Décor and Consulting has added to the store front activity on Hamilton Street in Neepawa, and Oakview Equipment has launched an MTZ tractor dealershipat Rapid City.

Heading into the second year, the event has attracted a great deal of attention, not only from participants coming to present their idea, but also from industry as well as other communities looking to adopt this innovative approach to spur new interest in commercial development in their own communities. Renewing their partnership for 2016, Minnedosa and Neepawa hosts are excited to see the growing interest.

What started as a "local" event last year has now attracted attention from World Trade Centre Winnipeg, the Business Development Bank of Canada and the Alberta-based Trend Lab Marketing Services. All three agencies will have representation at Thursday's event.

"What's the Big Idea?" is open for free to the public and active business community. While the highlight of the day's agenda will be the pitches from the registered participants from Minnedosa, Neepawa, Gladstone and Brandon, other speaking sessions slated for the day include small business financing, entrepreneurship for new Canadians, and anecdotal lessons from emerging entrepreneurs in the area. The key note speaker during the lunch hour is Aaron Biblow, the Business Development Manager for Trend Lab who will be speaking about the role of digital marketing and the use of websites and social media in today's business environment.

The entire program runs from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on Thursday. For more information on the event or to inquire about registering a pitch, contact Marilyn Crewe at 204-476-7607 or edo@wcgwave.ca

Social Media Link for the event:
https://www.facebook.com/events/329760584023093/