News Three more businesses wanted for “Dragon’s Den” style competition SHARE ON: Nicole Reis, contributor, Friday Dec. 21st, 2018 Prize money for the 2019 Muskoka Founders Circle contest have doubled to $20,000. Parry Sound businesses are invited to become part of the Parry Sound Founder’s Circle. The Parry Sound Muskoka Community Network is reaching out to business owners and community organizers to create a Parry Sound Founders Circle. The proposed organization is a group of businesses and community leaders which pool $1,000 each, per year to participate as judges in a “Dragon’s Den” style of pitch. The judges will select and recognise several promising businesses and will provide a financial boost to one. Two awards of $5,000 and $15,000 could be granted to local start-up businesses. PMCN currently organizes the IMPACT awards for Parry Sound/Muskoka and there is already a Muskoka Founders Circle in place. PMCN suggests that a Parry Sound Founders Circle would complement the existing program and would like to combine the awards gala ceremonies. April 11th is the date for the upcoming awards gala is to be held at JW Marriot resort in Minett. “Judges will evaluate the nominees and make the announcements of the awards in the same evening as at the IMPACT awards. You’ve got a large audience in attendance so nominees will get a lot of exposure and media coverage,” said Town of Parry Sound CAO, Clayton Harris. “We got the original idea in the US. A small town was in trouble and a bunch of business owners put some money together to get some development going. What they did was award the prize to an early-stage business which had a huge impact. We spend several years talking to people about it and it actively took two years to get our first 20 founders together to launch this. We worked with the Rotary Club of Gravenhurst so technically it’s a Rotary project so the money flows to them and they administer it all on the Founders Circle on our behalf,” said Stuart Morley, executive director of the Parry Sound/Muskoka Community Network. Morley says that Parry Sound needs at least three more businesses to launch the Parry Sound Founders Circle in the community for the coming year. Last year, the winner for the Muskoka Founder Choice awards was Kim Aitken from Aitken Frame Homes. Her business was formed in 2017 and by leveraging the exposure at the IMPACT award this past March, she was able to build five unique homes this winter and plans to build 40 homes next winter. Five finalists were also celebrated and awarded with professional promotional videos for their businesses. For those who have an interest in being a Parry Sound Founder can contact Stuart Morley by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (705)646-7722.