As entries close for the highly anticipated 4th annual Enterprize Challenge, the 2017 winner opens the doors to his downtown restaurant, and encourages others go after their dreams
On the first day Jolly Good Spudz opened its doors, owner Martin Paris and his team served his brand of British-style baked potatoes to nearly 200 people. The next day they served 250 people and sold out of some toppings that have already become favourites for regulars—pulled pork, poutine and chicken curry. For Paris, the 2017 Enterprize Challenge winner, it’s hard to believe just a year ago he was contemplating not even entering the contest, hosted by Community Futures North Okanagan.
“To think back to a year ago, and being in that room on the first day when everyone was talking about their business ideas—I didn’t think I had a chance,” says Paris, who had long been dreaming of opening a restaurant that paired healthy, locally inspired toppings with potatoes to create a healthy, delicious and easy meal with a British flair.
The Enterprize Challenge, which matches entrants with mentors to help prepare for tasks, “pushed” him to make his dream a reality.
“I did everything I could to do my best in those presentations, and it paid off,” says Martin, who opened the doors to Jolly Good Spudz on Feb. 1. He encourages others who have a good idea to give Enterprize a try. “If you have a dream, this competition is such a great boost. Go for it.”
In the style of Dragon’s Den, Enterprize Challenge participants present aspects of their business plan to judges over the course of eight weeks. Seven finalists will move on from the second task and then participate in a trade show and awards ceremony in which the top three winners—who share more than $35,000 in prizes—will be announced.
Leigha Horsfield, general manager, Community Futures North Okanagan, encourages those who have been debating entering to take the leap.
“You really don’t have to have business experience or acumen to succeed in the Enterprize Challenge. It’s all about hard work and being passionate about an idea that has potential.”
Registration closes Feb. 9. Participants can enter individually or as a team, and can register at http://www.futuresbc.com/business/starting-a-business/enterprize-challenge/.
The first place prize package, worth more than $19,000, includes start-up capital, free business banking for a year, and a range of packages, including legal, accounting, marketing and web design, and graphics as well as a radio and print campaign.
The Community Futures Enterprize Challenge is presented by VantageOne Credit Union, and another 12 organizations sponsor the event to make the challenge and its prizes possible.