The Town of Sahuarita is kicking off its BizEDGE program, which invites businesses owners to attend workshops and participate in an expansion pitch competition.

March 8, 2017
Sahuarita Sun

The Town of Sahuarita is asking for local small businesses to think about their future, and perhaps win some cash while doing it.

The town is kicking off its BizEDGE program, which invites businesses owners to apply for the opportunity to attend workshops, followed by a competition of who can come up with the best expansion pitch.

Businesses must commit to 23 hours of workshops over the course of the year, including those on profit mastery, access to capital and strategic planning. Following those workshops, attendees will present ideas for growing their businesses to a panel of judges in December. The judges will be town economic development employees, representatives from the Small Business Development Center, and possibly other members of the community.

The winner will receive a $2,000 prize, which comes from a grant from the Freeport McMoRan Foundation.

A kick-off meeting for the competition will be held from 8:30 to 10 a.m. on March 23 at town hall. Justin Dutton from Copper Mine Dental Studio and Ellen Kirton, with the Small Business Development Center, will speak.

Victor Gonzalez, the town’s economic development director, said he expects the town to spend March and April whittling down the applicants to the five or so businesses that will be selected to go through the program.

Gonzalez said the idea for the competition stemmed from a survey of town businesses conducted more than two years ago on what kind of assistance they needed to grow. The goal of the program is to identify those local industries willing to commit the time and work hands on with the town, he said.

“At the end of the day, we want to see the businesses in our community being sustainable,” he said.

Gonzalez said he last went through the list of Sahuarita business licenses about a year ago, and at that time there were 450 businesses with physical addresses inside the town. A conservative guess would put 75 percent of those as a “small businesses” with fewer than 15 employees, he said.


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