Vancouver’s Downtown Business Association will announce competition winner Friday

Winner will receive $40,000 to found brand new company 

VANCOUVER — Vancouver’s Downtown Business Association (VDA) will announce winners of the Downtown Vancouver Launchpad competition Friday (July 31) at 5 p.m. via Facebook live. 

The winner will be picked from the three finalists, and will win $40,000 and the ability to easily set up shop downtown. Many other community partnerships lead to extra services being given as part of the reward as well, including web design, voice over work and architecture consultation.

Photo courtesy of VDA
Photo courtesy of VDA

“It’s like a nonprofit doing Shark Tank,” VDA Executive Director Michael Walker previously told Clark County Today. “We don’t want to repeat sector businesses coming in. We prefer to have something new and something that hasn’t been done, something that doesn’t really exist yet.” 

That something has three forms, at this point, it could take: Natural Earth and Body, Main Street Market or Scout Burger. 

“I’ve always wanted to have my own shop, and that kind of led me and started me on this path of my company,” said founder of Natural Earth and Body, Marianne Wilson-Stein. “What I’ve done, even though it’s been so diverse, it’s all led me to this point.”

The competition was made possible through community partnerships between the VDA and businesses like iQ Credit Union and Kiggins Theater. The deadline for original submissions was at the end of January, and the process was delayed due to the pandemic. The three finalists were announced early last month, and the winner will be decided by an impartial and diverse panel of judges.

“It’s always been a passion of mine, like the community aspect behind local restaurants and the community aspect of building something from the ground up,” said Scout Burger founder, Johnny Driver. “The Launchpad processes really impacted me.”

To watch the livestream, visit VDA on Facebook Friday at 5 p.m. For more information on programs like the Launchpad, visit the VDA’s website.   

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