(With Files from Nicole Reis)

Prize money for the Muskoka Founders Circle has doubled for 2019.

The Founders Choice awards were created to give Muskoka-based entrepreneurs a hand up if their business idea was deemed the best of the year.

The total award in 2018 was $10,000, won by Kim Aitken of Aitken Frame Homes. The prize money increases to $20,000 this year with first prize garnering $15,000 and second prize bringing home $5,000.

The MFC website is now accepting submissions for this year with a deadline of March 1st.

This year’s contest brings a more regional flair with the participation of the Parry Sound Muskoka Community Network.

“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,” said Stuart Morley, executive director of the Parry Sound/Muskoka Community Network. “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.” 

The winners are revealed at the Impact Awards where the accomplishments of the Founders Choice Awards winners and winners of seven other business innovation awards of $1000 are each presented by the PMCN.

You can find all the information on the 2019 contest and submit business ideas through the Muskoka Founders Circle website by clicking here.