Back in June or July, I entered into a contest/program called the Chinook Entrepreneur Challenge. It is a program that helps new businesses or existing businesses working on an expansion of services, with their business plans. They host 8 classes over 2 months (once a week for 3 hours) that are dedicated to writing a business plan. Have I mentioned that this is all free?! Then, as an added bonus, they set you up with a mentor (a local business person) to help you with your plan and to give you some advice on your business. Then when you finish your business plan, they send it off to a whole bunch of evaluators who give you even more comments and advice on your plan. Sounds pretty good eh? Well I haven't even gotten to the good stuff yet....
The program is also a contest - you can win $15,000 cash for your business plus $5,000 in related services such as accounting and marketing. Sounds amazing eh? It is.
I stumbled across the program by accident one day while browsing the Internet and I'm so glad I found it. The classes were during a very busy time (I was just setting up Paws on the Run) and the due date for the business plan was at an even busier time (2 days before the daycare opened) but it has all been worth it. I learned a lot more about my business, my finances and what I needed to do to make Paws on the Run a success. Last week I found out I had made the cut for the top 8....this week I found out I had made the cut for the top 4. Today, I had to present to a panel of judges...and I've made the top 2!!! I'm so excited. And not just because I have the chance of winning some money but because other people think that my business plan might work! I know that sounds kind of silly but it was a really big leap of faith for me to invest a whole bunch of money into a business. I never thought I could work for myself because I like the stability of a pay cheque too much. But never say never! So now, I just need to do one more presentation at the final banquet on October 13 and then the judges will make their decision. Wish me luck!
I also just want to thank the "Mystery Shopper". One of the sneaky judges sent a mystery shopper in to check the place out. So whoever you are, thanks for the good review!