Win This Space


The Dryden District Chamber of Commerce together with the City of Dryden and PACE are hosting a contest called


“WIN THIS SPACE” is a contest designed to welcome budding entrepreneurs with a great idea for a new business while helping to fill empty storefronts in downtown Dryden.  The winner of the contest will win 12 months of rent (to a maximum of $1,000.00 per month)!  Plus thousands of dollars worth of in-kind professional services from sponsors.

The winner of the contest will choose their location from one of the participating storefronts, readily identified by the “WIN THIS SPACE” banner in the window.

Congratulations to all contestants that entered the “WIN THIS SPACE” contest. 

Following the submission deadline you will be contacted to attend 3 FREE mandatory Business Coaching Workshops, which will be hosted by the Northwest Business Centre and PACE to include topics such as:

1. How to Start a Business
2. Business Plan Development
3. Marketing & Promotion

During the series of workshops, you will receive coaching on how to create a Business Plan.

Contestants wishing to enter the next phase of the competition must submit their Business Plan by

September 8, 2017 at 4:00 pm to:

Dryden District Chamber of Commerce, 101B Duke Street, Dryden, ON  P8N 1G4


Each submission will be reviewed by the “WIN THIS SPACE” judging panel, who will select the TOP 5 Candidates. The finalists will then be invited to attend the FINALE event on October 3, 2017 from 7:00 – 10:00 pm at The Centre, where they will present a live 10 minute pitch about their business, plus the Judges will be able to ask questions about the business idea.  Following the presentations, the judging panel will make their decision and the Grand Prize WINNER of “WIN THIS SPACE” will be announced by 10:00 pm.



July 31, 2017 at 4:00 pm – Deadline to submit your idea and enter the contest

September 8, 2017 at 4:00 pm – Deadline to submit your Business Plan, entering the next phase of competition

October 3, 2017 – Finale Event at The Centre from 7:00 – 10:00 pm


 Curious to find out more about WIN THIS SPACE?

Below is a list of questions and answers which we hope will enlighten you on the competition, but most importantly, encourage you to SUBMIT YOUR IDEA!  This section will be updated on an ongoing basis. As we receive additional questions about “WIN THIS SPACE”, we’ll be sure to share the answers with you.




Who is eligible to participate in WIN THIS SPACE?
The competition is open to all legal residents of Canada, 19 years of age or older at the time of submitting a business idea for the “WIN THIS SPACE” competition.


Is the competition only open to Dryden residents?
No, “WIN THIS SPACE” it is OPEN to any legal Canadian resident who wishes to set up a business in Dryden’s downtown core.


What type of business could I set up as part of WIN THIS SPACE?
Proposed business ideas can be submitted for businesses, which would be independently owned by one person as a sole proprietorship or owned by 2 people as a partnership. (Please note: Franchises or restaurants are not being considered for the competition.) The business must conform to the zoning by-law for Dryden downtown commercial (See below the permitted uses for a Downtown Commercial (CD) Zone.) Contact Nicole Gale, City of Dryden at 807-223-4100 ext 1 or if further clarification is needed.


No person shall within a Downtown Commercial (CD) Zone, use any land or erect, alter or use any building or structure except in accordance with the following:



1. apartment dwelling
2. assembly hall
3. banks or financial institutions
4. business, professional and administrative offices
5. car wash
6. clinic
7. crisis centre
8. day nurseries
9. dwelling units within a commercial building
10. existing dwelling units
11. funeral parlour
12. gas bar
13. hotels and motels
14. laundromat
15. movie theatre
16. parking lot
17. personal services establishment
18. place of amusement
19. place of worship
20. post office
21. private club
22. restaurant
23. retail store
24. service shop
25. supermarket
26. tavern
27. taxi depot


Can you currently own a business and still enter WIN THIS SPACE?
You sure can! If you have solid multi-tasking skills then submit your idea. Your business idea entry must be with the intent to introduce, open and operate a new business concept, which will offer a new element not promoted in your existing business/location, or expand upon and highlight an element that would be removed from the existing business/location.


Can you submit more than one idea?
Certainly, go right ahead! If you have a few ideas that you feel are viable businesses for Dryden’s downtown core, then submit them. However, note that only 1 of your ideas can  participate in the workshops, since candidates will be required to focus on ‘only’ one business idea during the Business Builder Workshops. It’s imperative that if selected, you would need to focus your time and energy into detailing your concept so that you would have one solid Business Plan for submission to the Judging panel for the deadline date. Please note that all decisions made by the judges will be FINAL and not open for discussion.


How long of a lease will the winner be expected to sign for their new space?
The WINNER of WIN THIS SPACE must be willing to commit to signing a minimum 1-year lease from one of the participating lease spaces, which are available at the end of the competition.


What can the prize money be used towards?
By accepting the prize, the WINNER commits to using the $1000/month towards the first year’s lease of a space available, specially for the “Win This Space” contest. The winner will select one of the available spaces at the end of the competition.


When would I be required to lease space to set up my new business?
The Winner would need to commit to lease one of the available spaces within 3 weeks of being awarded the title of WINNER. The WINNER will be announced at the FINALE event, therefore space would need to be rented by October 24, 2017.

Do I need to work in the business on a daily basis?
No, you are not necessarily expected to work in the winning space/business on a daily basis; however, the Business Plan created during the Business Builder Workshops and subsequently submitted to the judging panel must reflect appropriate salaries and related expenses. These would need to be detailed in your financials.


Who will see my Business Idea Entry & Business Plan submission?
Your business idea entry & business plan submission may be seen by the following; Dryden District Chamber of Commerce Manager, Chair,  Staff of the Northwest Business Centre, along with the “WIN THIS SPACE” Judging Panel. All submissions will be kept confidential and all selections, judgments and decisions of the panel are final and binding. Business Plan submissions are DUE by September 8, 2017 at 4:00 pm after which, the Judges will meet to select the TOP FIVE (5) “WIN THIS SPACE” CANDIDATES!


Other Questions about WIN THIS SPACE?
“WIN THIS SPACE” Contest Rules and Regulations will be made available to candidates before or at the first Business Workshop. Once the “WIN THIS SPACE” Rules & Regulations have been read, each candidate will be requested to sign and agree to the terms as specified or withdraw from the competition.  A copy of the signed agreement must accompany the Business Plan submission.

Please contact Lorna Wood, Manager Dryden District Chamber of Commerce, 807-223-2622 or . Best of luck to all who submit an idea!


“Win This Space” contest Rules and Regulations are subject to change & updates will be posted on this page of the Chamber website at


WIN THIS SPACE Judging Panel

The Dryden District Chamber of Commerce, City of Dryden and PACE have partnered to host “WIN THIS SPACE”.

Following the deadline for Business Plan submissions (September 8, 2017 at 4:00 pm), the “WIN THIS SPACE” Judging Panel will review all Business Plans submitted and select the Top 5 finalists, who will participate in the live FINALE event on October 3, 2017 at The Centre, in Dryden.

During the “WIN THIS SPACE” FINALE event the judging panel and audience will hear live presentations made by the Top 5 candidates.  The Judges will also have the opportunity to ask the Candidates questions about their business idea.   Following the presentations of all Candidates the Judges will deliberate and select the one LUCKY WINNER of “WIN THIS SPACE”.  All decisions made by the Judges will be final and not open to discussion.


Let’s meet the Panel of Judges….


Peter Smith, C.A.

Chartered Professional Accountant and Partner

BDO Canada LLP

Chartered Accountants & Consultants, Dryden, ON

Peter has been with BDO Canada LLP for 33 years in general practice areas of accounting, auditing and taxation including accounting, audit planning and supervision, personal tax planning, corporate tax planning, consulting and management advisory services.

Peter’s industry experience includes First Nations and Aboriginal organizations, not-for-profit government funded organizations and charities, non-profit housing corporations, health care facilities, a broad range of service and retail businesses, professional practices, hotels, restaurants and tourism and recreational facilities, and forestry based corporations.

Dawn Jones, Manager

TD Canada Trust, Dryden, ON

Dawn started with TD Bank in Dryden as a teller in 1989. She held numerous roles throughout the Branch and in 2006 became Branch Manager.

Dawn has received the Dryden District Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award, “Manager of the Year” twice.

Dawn can usually be found on weekends out riding her four wheeler, exploring beautiful Northwestern Ontario.

Karen McDonald

Dryden, Ontario

Karen has called Dryden home for the past 47 years, moving here with her family from Toronto at the age of 9 years and enjoys all its surrounding beauty as well as the people of the Dryden area.

She and her husband Terry have raised their family in Dryden who are grown and are residing in Dryden and area and raising their families here as well. She has worked for the Kenora District Services Board for the past 17 years as a Case Manager and is an active volunteer and community member.

Karen has been involved in several fundraising activities via Theatre 17 helping to raise funds and awareness to the Dryden Oncology Unit, Senior Activity Centre, Gowns for Grads and Grace Haven.

Karen has seen Dryden in its prosperous years when Dryden’s Paper Mill employed over 1,000 people. She has been concerned with Dryden’s economic climate, layoffs, downsizing and closures to several longstanding businesses in the downtown core. She sees the Win This Space contest as an exciting opportunity for Dryden and its residents to pull together to support new growth and potential new ideas in the downtown core.

James Cochrane

Investment Advisor

BMO Nesbitt Burns, Dryden, ON

James was born in a 4-room hospital in the little town of NIPIGON, Ontario and was raised in Thunder Bay. Graduated from Churchill High, started at University of Victoria and completed his Pre-Med degree at Lakehead U. Worked in the fishing and Pulp and Paper Industry while completing University.

James started with Investors Group in October 1985. CFP Graduate and became a Manager with Investors in 1993. James hosted local Cable T.V. shows for 6 years “You’re Money Magazine”

He was Chairman of Entertainment with Dry Grad Society Nanaimo 1997 – 2000. He sold his business with Investors Group in December 2001. Lived downtown Vancouver for 1 year and traveled for 1 year before settling in Thunder Bay again and restarting his Career in Financial services in 2004.

James was a member of both the Selection Committee and Bursary Fund Committee for The Northern Ontario School of Medicine. He transferred with Bank of Montreal Nesbitt Burns from Thunder Bay and moved to Dryden in the spring of 2009. BMO Nesbitt Burns Branch moved into BMO Bank Building Dec 2015.

James has been a Director, Treasurer, Chair & Past Chair of Dryden District Chamber of Commerce from 2010 – 2016. James is happily married, father of 6 Daughters, 8 Grand Children and 1 CockaPoo

Terry McKay

Dryden, Ontario

Terry and her husband Dave moved to Dryden in 1984 and raised their three children here. Over the last 30 years Terry has worked along side Dave in their construction business.

Terry was on Parent Council for several years and also volunteered through out the years as her children attended school in Dryden.

Terry served on the Dream Believers Committee for 5 years, helping to raise funds for cancer research and equipment. Her passion and enthusiasm for Dryden and its downtown core are no secret.

Terry loves to spend time at their camp on Edward Lake with family and friends—where they have the most amazing sunsets!


Thank you Judges – we look forward to putting your skills and knowledge to work!


To SUBMIT YOUR IDEA in 250 words or less (enter the contest) CLICK HERE

To SUBMIT YOUR IDEA with a 2-3 minute video (enter the contest) email: or copy it to a flash drive and mail or deliver to:

Dryden District Chamber of Commerce

101-B Duke Street,

Dryden, ON  P8N 1G4