A good new development effort

Published 10:43 pm Thursday, September 6, 2018

It might not be a widely watched reality show with millions of viewers, but the Suffolk Economic Development Community Business Launch competition could be just the ticket to get some new businesses or business expansions jump-started in Suffolk.

The television show “Shark Tank” features business owners pitching five millionaire and billionaire venture capitalists for investments to start, grow or save their business.

The upcoming competition, for which the city received a grant, will end with a similar pitch, but there will be some changes.

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First of all, the competition starts with workshops that are mandatory for the participating businesspeople. The workshops will help the participants formulate a business plan and conquer other challenges inherent to starting or expanding a business.

Not every business plan will make it to the competition, but those that do will have the chance to pitch their business. At least three businesses could receive up to $15,000 to help them in their endeavors.

Only businesses hoping to open a brick-and-mortar location in the downtown Suffolk area will be eligible.

We think the concept for this competition is great.

The city’s downtown business area has struggled for years. Many business owners and restaurant owners have been successful and thrived with the support of many downtown workers, residents and visitors. But others have opened and then closed after mere months or a couple of years. Some announced their new venture and then never got off the ground at all.

The city has tried many new and innovative plans in recent years, including its pop-up shops initiative. The pop-up shops allowed home-based businesses to set up in a downtown location for a weekend to get a feel for what it would be like to have a physical location in the city. The special weekends also brought lots of foot traffic downtown to check out the pop-up shops and discover the established businesses, as well.

The Community Business Launch program and competition is another great way to grow new businesses from the start and give them a better chance at being successful. That’s an effort we can get behind. We look forward to seeing how it turns out.