A new and unique contest starts today aimed at helping someone start a new retail store in downtown Langley City.

VIDEO: A $115,000-prize package helps retailer start up store in downtown Langley

Someone in B.C. will win loot and a rare chance to build a brand new business in Langley.

A start-up package worth more than $115,000 is up for grabs for an inspiring entrepreneur wanting to start a new business in Langley.

Now that’s a huge boost for anyone wanting to launch a company, and what better place than Downtown Langley, said Teri James, the executive director of the Downtown Langley Business Association (DLBA).

Details are being revealed later today for this new and distinct contest by the DLBA.

The contest, called Start It Up Langley, is aimed at jump starting a new retail business within the City.

“We have a very exciting contest with… a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to win over $100,000 in prizes to help them launch the business of their dreams,” she said.

“Nothing like this has been done before.”

One of the key criteria, the founder has three minutes or less (via video) to convince judges why their idea is worth considering.

And in addition to the video, aspiring retailers must submit a business and financial plan showing the viability of the venture, and have access to $30,000 of their own capital to invest.

“Honesty, nothing like this has been done before,” James said, explaining how she conceived of this idea a year and a half ago.

It was inspired by a technology contest in Ontario, and she’s been building and morphing the idea ever since.

The prize package includes six-month free rent on retail space in Downtown Langley, a lawyer and accountant’s help with all the start up paperwork and requirements, $20,000 in services from an interior contractor, exterior signs, a grand opening reception, interior merchandising, a promotional car wrap, print media advertising, a security system, City fees, a business coach, and full branding and marketing support, plus more, James said.

She is expecting literally hundreds of applications before the May 11 noon deadline.

James noted it has to be a totally new business, that the company can’t be a relocating, nor can it be a second location of an existing store.

Langley City Mayor Ted Schaffer was one of the few read in on the proposed contest prior to its release today.

“What a great idea,” he said.

“I think it is a wonderful marketing program that will benefit not only the successful entrepreneur, but the business community as well,” said the mayor.

Carole Ward, is both branch manager for Westminster Savings and chair of the Downtown Langley Business Association. She’s pretty psyched about the undertaking.

“Start it Up Langley is a unique and exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs who have always dreamed of opening up their own business, but didn’t know how and where to start,” she said, impressed that the package also offers time with a professional business coach.

“We are so excited about this contest and the buzz it has already created in the community and surrounding communities,” Ward added. “We expect that the interest and attention we have already received will continue to build and will showcase Langley City as the perfect destination to ‘open up shop’.”

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Winner announced July 16

Five semi-finalists will be announced June 6, then there’s a people’s choice voting component that will whittles that shortlist down to the top three.

A winner will be announced July 16.

“We’re super excited,” James said. “And as of Feb. 19, check it out at StartItUpLangley.com.”

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