Belated congratulations to Markus Hawco (centre), proprietor at The Ice Box, on Ross Street, in St. Thomas, for his success in the Elgin Business Resource Centre’s The Pitch. ERBC General Manager Kevin Jackson presented the $25,000 grand prize cheque to Hawco, as ERBC Business Advisor Mark Masseo looks on.

With its Dragon’s Den style grand finale on March 9, 2022, The Pitch invited owners of new, nearly new, or expanding local businesses to enter an annual business plan competition. This year, some 20 businesses made submissions to the EBRC’s panel of seasoned business advisors. The ‘live’ showdown was digitally streamed by Establish Media, attracting more than 400 viewers.

Previous years’ winners of The Pitch include: Sarah Foshay, of Smart Dental Hygiene, in Aylmer, 2015; Ryan and Krista Harris, of Century Chocolates, in St. Thomas, 2016; Jane and Chuck Magri, of Wildflowers Farm, St. Thomas, in 2017; Doris and Gabriel Chordekar, of Shebaz’s Shawarma and Falafel, in St. Thomas, 2018; and co-winners Maria Fiallos Castillo, Streamliners Espresso Bar, and Jade Rogers, Timbernook Elgin, St. Thomas, 2019. The annual competition was launched in 2015 but skipped a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.