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Five finalists have been selected for a Business Pitch Competition being delivered by the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation (SSMEDC). The local companies are: Black Fox Fishing, Meatless Meals With Megan, Ontario Wild, Scott Coffee Co., and The Queen’s Tarts. Each firm now has a short pitch video posted to social media. View them on the Facebook page for the Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship at www.facebook.com/MillworksEntrepreneurCentre.

The five pitches will be ranked on public voting. After watching all the videos, citizens can choose their favourite one at www.surveymonkey.com/r/2GC5FJH. The deadline to vote is September 22 at 4:30 p.m. Public voting will make up 50% of the scoring, with the other 50% coming from the contestants’ comprehensive business plans, which are being reviewed and judged by an expert panel. Based on the results, two finalists will be selected, and the pair will compete in a pitch-off at the SSMEDC’s 2017 Bridges to Better Business event on October 19. At the forum, they will be scored live by 50% audience votes and 50% from the expert panel.

Valued at $15,000, the grand prize includes a $5,000 business grant through the Starter Company program, legal advisory services, accounting services, insurance services and one-year of office space at the SSMEDC’s Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship. A second-place prize is also being awarded, which includes a Starter Company grant of $3,000 and one-year of working space at the Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship.

“We’re delivering the Pitch Competition to highlight the Sault’s entrepreneurial spirit and support our small business sector,” said Dan Hollingsworth, Executive Director of Business Development for the SSMEDC. “This contest is a great opportunity for the public to get involved, have some fun and vote for their favourite pitch. For the finalists, it’s an opportunity to promote their companies and earn prizes that will support their endeavours.”

The Pitch Competition is being facilitated by the team at the SSMEDC’s Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship. Located at the Machine Shop on the former St. Marys Paper site, the facility is home to the organization’s small business support staff, along with a business incubator that currently hosts seven companies.

This contest is being made possible thanks to a number of prize sponsors, including Laidlaw Paciocco Dumanski Spadafora & Johnson, Community First, Dawson & Keenan Insurance, TD Bank, BDO Canada, Algoma Insurance Brokers, and KPMG. The Pitch Competition is also being supported by the following community partners: Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce, Business Development Bank of Canada, Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre and its YouLaunch program, and Community Development Corporation of Sault Ste. Marie & Area.