Downtown Dreaming in City of Kawartha Lakes

Mayor Andy Letham, Leisha Newton, Councillor Mary Ann Martin, Denise Williams

KAWARTHA LAKES-Have you ever dreamed of owning your own business? Now there’s some help, if you will open in one of four dowtown areas.

Today, The City of Kawartha Lakes launched an new initiative to encourage entrepreneurs to invest in small town, downtowns. The Downtown Dreams program is billed as a business attraction program designed to attract new or existing businesses to open, expand or move into the downtowns of Coboconk and Norland, Fenelon Falls, Lindsay and Omemee. “The Downtown Dreams program, is an effort to attract new business into the downtowns and revitalize the economy” Leisha Newton, Economic Development Officer, Downtown said at the launch.

Businesses must be able to demostrate how they will contribute to the economy and that they can be sustainable.

The Province kicked in $62,000 and the City of Kawartha Lakes has committed to matching that funding. “It’s important to revitalize our downtowns, it’s important to attract new businesses, upgrading exisitng businesses and attract new businesses.” Mayor Andy Letham said. “I think it’s a great use of an opportunity to get the whole community involved and participating in that.”

The prizes for the winners include a 1-year free Chamber of Commerce membership – provided by your local Chambers of Commerce (Lindsay & District (Lindsay & Omemee), Fenelon Falls, Coboconk/Norland) (approximate value $120), 5 hours of Business & Marketing Consulting – provided by Strexer Harrop & Associates (approximate value $475), Business cards for all staff members of the new business, 500 letterhead and 500 envelopes – provided by Hall Printing(approximate value $300), 1/8 page Advertisement – provided in local media (approximate value $100), 3 months of free internet – provided by Cable Cable (approximate value $375) with more prizes being added regularly.

Interested businesses can apply for the program online. Applications will be accepted until March 23rd.  An advisory panel will choose the top five in each community to continue on to the next step. “Those top five will be required to attend five mandatory training sessions and we will also offer three additional optional sessions that may be applicable based on the type of business or service they provide” Newton said.

At the end of that stage, the businesses will be asked to submit a business plan to the advisory panel to review followed by a public event where they will pitch their ideas to the  panel and the public on June 6th at the Academy Theatre.

Four winners will be announced that night, one in each community.

For a list of rules and regualtions or to apply click here: