The finalists have been declared for the second Win Your Space YK competition, in which Yellowknifers with business ideas can win a year’s leased space downtown for free.

Mayor Mark Heyck announced the five contenders on Wednesday at Ja-Pain, the Japanese bakery which was 2017’s Win Your Space winner. They are:

  • Borealis Bike Tours Unlimited by David Stephens
  • Jenny’s Painting World by Jennifer Pohl
  • Kerri’s Kreations: The Farmhouse by Kerri & Mike Nolting
  • Longarm of the North by Marilyn McGurran
  • Music Exchange Space by Mary Kelly

The eventual winner will receive a year’s free rent in one of a range of spaces they can choose from, alongside $10,000 in start-up money, a free business licence, a free one-year membership with the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce, a media package, and a session with Samantha Stuart Photography.

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There are smaller, related prizes for second and third place.

The finalists will present their business ideas to a jury, Dragons’ Den-style, on Thursday, August 23 at City Hall. The event, which is open to the public, starts at 5pm.

“I’m a little bit nervous, but I’m hoping to move forward and do my best next week,” said David Stephens, who owns Borealis Bike Tours Unlimited.

Stephens’ business offers guided, year-round bike tours, including a fleet of 15 fat bikes.

“I feel inspired and enlivened,” said Mary Kelly, creator of Music Exchange Space. She says this would be a place for people to enjoy musical activities, ranging from one-on-one lessons to group singing, fiddling, or early childhood classes.

“I started Kerry’s Kreations and I now want to take that to the next level and do a home decor store,” said finalist Kerry Nolting, who has been taking courses in style, design, and colour, and has a penchant for rustic and farmhouse style.

Marilyn McGurran, owner of Longarm of the North, teaches people how to longarm quilts.

“I can hardly breathe right now, but I’m excited, very excited, and in some good company. All of us that won, that are moving on, are tough competition,” she said.

Jennifer Pohl, owner of Jenny’s Painting World, promises a Yellowknife-based gallery. “There would be lots of landscapes of Yellowknife, and people could watch me paint them on my YouTube channel like Bob Ross,” she explains in an online video.

Rob Warburton, one of the jurors, wished the finalists good luck.

“Be honest, give us your best shot,” he said. “I can read on paper what your plan is – I’d love to hear your passion for what you are doing.”