Build Your Own Business 2019

WIN a $15,000 booster shot of professionals services!

BYOB - Build Your Own Business 2019

BYOB 2019 is a business competition open to anyone aged 19 to 99 with an idea, passion or skill and the DESIRE to turn it into a successful business.

To make that dream come true we’ve assembled a team of professionals to DONATE $15,000 worth of their billable time to help your business get started and/or to help your existing small business to grow and prosper.

These are not donated consulting services. These are hands-on, roll-up-the-sleeves, active participation hours spent performing skilled activities that are critical to the success of ANY business. By providing this support, the business owner can focus on those aspects of the business that produce income.

And that's not all!

In addition to these core supporting functions, the winner of the competition will also receive:

  • A free business bank account provided by Libro Credit Union
  • A one-year membership to Freedom Cafe,
  • Monthly oversight meetings chaired by CFO Ted Sehl of mgmt2go

As well as other prizes that we’re adding on a regular basis. Contestants who advance to the final round will also receive professional pitch presentation coaching.

So! Are you new to the workforce? Have you been in the workforce a long time but suddenly find yourself available? Or have you been dreaming of running your own business for some time, and just haven’t had the opportunity to take the plunge?

If you can answer yes to any of these, THEN YOU NEED TO COMPETE in BYOB 2019!

Do you know of a great entrepreneur who should participate?

Share this page and let them know about the competition!

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Competition Schedule

Below are key dates for Freedom Cafe’s BYOB 2019 competition. The basic sequence is 1) Register, 2) Complete and Submit Your Application Before the Deadline, and 3) Build Your Support.

  1. You must be registered in order to compete, so register as soon as possible.
  2. Complete your application form. We will distribute application forms and instructions ONLY to REGISTERED competitors starting on February 1. You can register after that date, but we recommend you register as soon as possible to give yourself time to complete the application and competition tasks identified in your application form.
  3. Build Your Support: Part of succeeding in business is being able to get support from others, whether it’s financial, in-kind services or good advice, or simply moral support from family, friends and loved-ones. You can start building your support at any time by letting members of your sphere know that you intend to compete.

The Grand Prize winner will be selected from five short-listed contestants selected from all applications received. This group of five will make presentations to a judgment committee on the final night of the competition with the grand prize winner being announced immediately afterwards. The Final Competition Evening is currently scheduled to take place March 29 subject to availability of the judges. The exact date will be distributed to all contestants as soon as it is confirmed.




  • Registration
  • Online
  • February 1, 2019
  • Applications Available Starting
  • Online
  • February 20, 2019 (7-9pm)
  • Help Sessions
  • Freedom Cafe
  • March 7, 2019
  • Registration Deadline
  • Online
  • March 8, 2019
  • Application Submission Deadline
  • Online
  • March 15, 2019
  • Short List Announced
  • Online
  • March 29, 2019 (7-9pm)
  • Grand Prize Awarded
  • Freedom Cafe

Here are our Top 5 Finalists:

Thank you to everyone who participated in this our first ever Build Your Own Business Competition. 

The Top 5 will move on to final presentations on March 29th from 7 – 9 PM at Freedom Cafe. If you are interested in being in the audience, we have limited seats available. Please email us if you would like to attend and support our finalists. 

Partners & Sponsors

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we have so far received. Please check back often, though, because we are continuously updating this section!

No. But please let us know if you decide to withdraw from the competition.

Anyone aged 19 to 99 with an idea, passion or skill and the desire to turn it into a successful business. We are especially looking to help those who have worked as employees but, due to economic factors, no longer can rely on their main source of income. Got an idea? Got a passion or a skill that can be marketed? YOU NEED TO ENTER THE COMPETITION.

Yes, provided your annual revenue from the business does not exceed $30,000 CA. Only one representative of the business is permitted to apply.

Applications will be sent out to all registered applicants starting February 1, 2019. If you register after February 1, Freedom Cafe will send you an email with the application link shortly after registering.

NO! We encourage anyone to apply regardless of the industry or the types of products and services their business may provide.

There are no costs or fees to enter the competition. Just fill out the registration form to get started.

No. However, we do expect that anyone truly serious about competing will understand that there are some hard costs to consider, and that such costs WILL NOT BE PAID FOR by the sponsors of the competition or any of your individual team members. Our best estimate is that you should plan on budgeting at least $1200 to be spent over the course of the first six months to purchase advertising/promotional space (e.g., Facebook ads, Google AdWords, etc.)

The competition is open now and will conclude at the end of March, 2019. Please see the Timeline for more details on important dates and deadlines. The Grand Prize Evening will be held in the event space at Freedom Cafe.

Just complete the registration form on this page. We will send the application form and details to all registered contestants starting February 1.

This competition is open to anyone within 50 kms of Freedom Cafe. Your business must operate with this radius and you must also be able to travel to Freedom Cafe for your pitch and regular meetings.

What is your business idea? What do you think will make it successful?
For the first part, all we’re looking for is that:

  1. you have an idea for a business
  2. you can identify a market for what you offer, and
  3. you believe the market is big enough to meet your revenue goals.

We aren’t looking for a complete business plan here, which is why we
kept the limit to 250 words.

For the second part, just tell us why you think your idea will be
successful. Are you filling a niche that has been underserviced or
overlooked entirely? Do you offer something that isn’t commonly
available? Don’t overthink your answers. Just try to answer the
questions as directly as you can.

What types of business support services do you feel you need most?

Tell us about any aspects of running a business that you expect will be
most challenging for you. Maybe your greatest need is for help to focus
your idea to turn it into something simple, understandable and
achievable. Tell us that. Maybe you don’t do well with keeping records.
Tell us that.

Our goal is to match the business expertise of your support team to the
kinds of business support you need most.

What level of investment are you willing and able to commit to this
competition, should you win?
We were asked if the team would look at the amount selected and say;
how can we spend that money? This isn’t why we’re asking.

This is why: The grand prize of $15,000 in donated professional
services does not have any cash value or include a cash component. If
you are going to start a business, there will be hard costs involved. For
instance, you need to pay to register your business. You will need to
advertise it. You may need to attend trade shows and pay for booths as
well as signage and collateral materials to distribute to visitors to your
booth. You may need equipment.

In short, there are going to be costs associated with any business, and
it will be up to you – the business owner – to pay them. If you don’t at
least have some funds available, then you’re not quite ready to start a

Need Help?

Send any questions to


Thanks to all participants. REGISTRATION for BYOB 2019 is now CLOSED. Your COMPLETED APPLICATIONS are due by MIDNIGHT, March 8, 2019.

Best of luck to everyone!

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