Busi­ness wins free rent con­test

Simcoe Reformer - Times-Reformer - - NEWS - POST­MEDIA NEWS

After two months of pro­mo­tions, three open houses and 22 ap­pli­ca­tions, a win­ner has been cho­sen of the Down­town Sim­coe Win This Space com­pe­ti­tion.

The win­ning pro­posal comes from Jess Bom­mar­ito for her com­pany Groundswell Cowork­ing, a space to serve lo­cal small busi­nesses and en­trepreneurs.

The prize is free rent for one year of the ground floor space at 56 Nor­folk St. South.

“I’m thrilled my vi­sion to serve the emerg­ing num­ber of peo­ple work­ing re­motely in Nor­folk was se­lected,” said Bom­mar­ito. “Groundswell will rev­o­lu­tion­ize how lo­cal en­trepreneurs, free­lancers, vir­tual as­sis­tants, and al­laround cre­atives who spend the ma­jor­ity of their time work­ing all alone on their lap­tops can work, net­work and gen­er­ate new ideas.”

Bom­mar­ito is host­ing a se­ries of “Lonely Lap­top­per Hang Outs” across the county to bring to­gether home-based busi­nesses from through­out Nor­folk County. Visit lone­ly­lap­top­pers.com to RSVP.

Win This Space is an ini­tia­tive of Nor­folk County’s Ur­ban Re­newal Part­ner­ship Pro­ject.

The ob­jec­tive of the con­test is three­fold: fill at least one empty down­town space; as­sist one bud­ding en­tre­pre­neur to re­al­ize their busi­ness dream; and add to the re­vi­tal­iza­tion of down­town Sim­coe.

Fund­ing for the ini­tia­tive was pro­vided by Nor­folk County and the prov­ince un­der the Main Street Re­vi­tal­iza­tion Ini­tia­tive.

“I was pleas­antly sur­prised by the qual­ity and cal­i­bre of the busi­ness plans that were sub­mit­ted,” said Kayla Del­eye, se­nior plan­ner with the county and pro­ject lead, in a me­dia re­lease. “This con­firms what we al­ways sus­pected, that there are a lot of cre­ative busi­ness ideas in our com­mu­nity.”

Clark Hoskin, Nor­folk’s di­rec­tor of tourism and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, said staff is “com­mit­ted to ex­plor­ing mul­ti­ple paths to down­town re­vi­tal­iza­tion in col­lab­o­ra­tion with our com­mu­nity stake­hold­ers.”

Win This Space is a con­cept that has been used by other towns across Canada to vary­ing de­grees of suc­cess.

Jim McGimpsey, general man­ager of the Sim­coe Down­town BIA and Sim­coe and District Cham­ber of Com­merce, said the con­test’s ul­ti­mate win would be to help a num­ber of the en­trepreneurs who ap­plied to 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 McGimpsey, who was a mem­ber of the con­test se­lec­tion com­mit­tee.

“We are hop­ing 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.”

McGimpsey said they have re­ceived other ideas on how to at­tract busi­nesses to the down­town.

“The ul­ti­mate ob­jec­tive is to en­gen­der a re­nais­sance in down­town Sim­coe and I think it has started.”

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

Jess Bom­mar­ito is the win­ner of the Down­town Sim­coe Win This Space com­pe­ti­tion. Her com­pany, Groundswell Cowork­ing, will move into the ground floor space at 56 Nor­folk St. South.

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