GENESEO, N.Y., Dec. 14, 2023 — Livingston County is seeking makers, creators, movers, and shakers to open retail establishments that will enhance the visitor experience in and around the County’s nine historic main street districts through the Dream-O-Vate Business Competition.
Developed by Livingston County’s Economic Development Office, Dream-O-Vate is a retail business plan competition that encourages entrepreneurs with innovative and fresh business ideas to compete for the chance to open a storefront and earn one of several business development prizes, including up to a $25,000 business start-up grant. Past Dream-O-Vate winners include Sunrise Bouldering in Geneseo, Six Sprouts Farm Market in Avon, and Woodlawn Distilling in Linwood.
“Starting a business is hard work, especially in today’s economy,” explained Maureen Wheeler, Deputy Director of Livingston County Economic Development. “The Dream-O-Vate competition will ease that transition into business for several innovative entrepreneurs. In doing so, we’re not only helping the winners, but also our existing businesses as we add to the critical mass in our communities.”
In addition to the up to $25,000 business start-up grant, competition winners will also receive up to $5,000 for branding and website costs, up to $5,000 for signs and facades along with in-kind design assistance, a photoshoot and online feature with Visit LivCo, business promotion, a ribbon cutting ceremony, and more.
Open to new businesses and substantial diversifications of existing operations, Dream-O-Vate will focus on funding Livingston County businesses in four key sectors: food and drink, tourism, specialty retail, and entertainment. The competition seeks to address and offer solutions to the many challenges encountered by new and existing business owners, including accessing capital, navigating regulatory processes, identifying prime locations, and managing operational expenses. Successful applicants will engage in an intensive ten-week entrepreneurship training program designed to equip entrepreneurs with the insights, relationships, and tools needed to overcome these obstacles and turn ideas into action.
The Dream-O-Vate program received a major boost earlier this year when U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand secured $500,000 in federal funding for the Livingston County-led initiative. The funds were part of more than $250 million in total financial backing that Schumer and Gillibrand delivered to the Rochester-Finger Lakes Region to support key infrastructure, job training, and educational opportunities.
Economic Development is accepting Dream-O-Vate applications from now until January 19, 2024, via mail, email, or in-person at Livingston County Economic Development, 6 Court Street, Room 306, Geneseo, NY 14454. Applicants can send email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. More information and application guidelines are available on the Dream-O-Vate homepage or by calling 585-243-7124.
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About Livingston County:
Founded in 1821, Livingston County, N.Y., is home to more than 61,000 residents in 17 towns located across 631 square miles of the Finger Lakes region.