CLEVELAND - Throughout 2012, NewsChannel5's "Building Better Neighborhoods" initiative has highlighted local improvement efforts in the aftermath of the housing market meltdown.
A key component of any healthy neighborhood is a thriving small business sector. Currently, a "Best Business Plan" competition, in one west side Cleveland community, is offering free rent to help boost an already bustling business environment.
"We've had 60 new businesses open since 2006," boasted Detroit Shoreway Neighborhood Development Organization Director Jeff Ramsey while standing at the corner of West 65th Street and Detroit Avenue, in the heart of the Gordon Square Arts District.
To add even more businesses, Ramsey's organization, with the support of The Charter One Foundation and Cleveland Councilman Matt Zone, is conducting a contest offering free rent and business startup money to those submitting the best business plan by the end of this week.
"The winner will get one year free rent (up to $10,000), second place, six months (up to $5,000), and third place, three months (up to $2,500)," said Ramsey, adding that the rent is for new independent retail or service businesses taking available space in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood.
The competition is backed by a grant from the Charter One Foundation - part of its "Growing Communities" initiative.
According to Charter One spokesperson Brittany O’Connor, the bank backed a similar competition in Cleveland's Ohio City area last year.
"Some of the winners there were Campbell's Sweets Factory, Joy Machines Bicycle Shop and Wild Orchid Florists," said O'Connor. "Like Ohio City, we see great potential in Detroit Shoreway -- so we expanded our Growing Communities program there this year."
The Best Business Plan backers told NewsChannel5 additional startup money and help is also available to contestants in the form of grants, loans and specific economic development programs.
Organizers said five copies of contest application materials, including business plans, should be submitted to the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization offices at 6516 Detroit Avenue by the close of business this Friday.
Click on the following link for complete details on the Detroit Shoreway Best Business Plan Competition: www.dscdo.org/
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