Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Livingston County seeking entrepreneurs for retail business competition

Livingston County Economic Development will award $300,000 in prizes through its Dream-O-Vate Business Competition.

Some 15 winners will share $300,000 in prizes that include training, funding and the essential resources and tools needed to successfully open a business, officials said.

“Starting a business is hard work, especially in today’s economy, said Bill Bacon, director of economic development for Livingston County. “Through the Dream-O-Vate competition, we hope to ease that transition into business for 15 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.”

Officials said the county is seeking “makers, creators, movers and shakers” to open retail establishments that will enhance the visitor experience in and around nine historic Main Street districts. Applicants can be a new business start-up or diversification of an existing business.

“We’re hoping that the competition will attract new residents who are looking to make the move from city to country living,” Bacon said. “Our location in the beautiful Genesee River valley on the western edge of the Finger Lakes offers a rewarding lifestyle where you can make real connections and a big difference in a small community.”

Dream-O-Vate is a retail business plan competition that encourages entrepreneurs to compete for the chance to open a storefront and earn a business startup package. It is the second time the county has run such a program; a 2019 program helped nine businesses across five communities.

More information can be found at Applications are due by April 23.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

GLOW With Your Hands goes virtual

The Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties’ successful GLOW With Your Hands career exploration project has launched a new virtual platform to benefit students in the four-county region.

GLOW With Your Hands Virtual expands the hands-on career exploration experience with innovative, on-demand interaction with 34 careers across four growing sections of the regional economy. Last year’s in-person event engaged more than 800 students.

“After seeing the direct impact GLOW With Your Hands produced in a single-day event in 2019, we are excited to bring careers in agriculture, food processing, advanced manufacturing and skilled trades directly to even more students,” said Karyn Winters, director of the Genesee County Business Education Alliance. Winters led the project with Angela Grouse, director of Education to Employment Initiatives at the Livingston County Area Chamber of Commerce.

Schools received early access to the GLOW With Your Hands Virtual website beginning Nov. 2. The full website has launched to the public.

“Students who swung a hammer, laid a concrete walkway, practiced welding and dozens of other activities at GLOW With Your Hands 2019 can now have an even deeper connection to explore these careers,” Grouse said. “GLOW With Your Hands Virtual takes those experiences into the production facilities, job sites and farms, with meaningful results.”

Area students participate in GLOW With Your Hands 2019. (provided)
Area students participate in GLOW With Your Hands 2019. (provided)

Careers highlighted include assembly and fabrication, welding, concrete and masonry, project manager, food packaging, veterinary technician, animal nutritionist and CDL driver.

“Each career page includes an extensive ‘day in the life’ profile of professionals at great companies in the GLOW region and an outline of the general duties, earnings and educational requirements,” Grouse said. “Most importantly, students are shown a pathway of classes, clubs, volunteer opportunities and local training programs that they can pursue during middle and high school and beyond with training programs and post-secondary opportunities.”

In addition to the Genesee County BEA and Livingston County Chamber, volunteers for Access-VR, Iroquois Job Corps, Livingston Associates, Genesee Valley BOCES, Wyoming County BEA, Orleans County Job Development Agency and more participated in generating career information, filming and editing of videos with companies across all four counties, as well as preparing the website.

“We are already planning how to grow GLOW With Your Hands for the future,” Winters said. “In addition to continuing to expand the virtual platform, all of our organizations are ready to assist our students, educators and businesses.”

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

Facebook for Livingston County eateries goes viral in a good way

When Alicia Lawless of Dansville asked for recommendations for chicken wings on Tuesday, she got more than 120 responses. 

And that’s just for Livingston County. 

A new Facebook group, Livingston County Menus, started by Zach Matzek, a Dansville school counselor who lives in Livonia, is generating lively discussions about what’s on the menu and available for takeout at restaurants and other food establishments in that area. 

Whether it’s generating more business for restaurants that are limited to takeout and delivery because of the pandemic is still to be decided. 

The owner of Avon Village Restaurant, Frank Matusak, said he can’t tell whether Livingston County Menus is helping. Business is down by 70 percent since the restaurant had to close down normal operations. 

“We were a busy place,” he said, but since most people don’t order takeout for breakfast, the restaurant’s busiest meal, they’ve all but shut down their breakfast trade. Wednesday’s special was chicken and biscuits. 

An employee at Lakeville’s 3 Legged Pig BBQ said the restaurant is holding its own. It extended its Tuesday special — two pounds of pulled pork, a dozen slider rolls and two large sides for $20, to Wednesday. Another special advertised Wednesday — a Tur-alligator, a bacon-wrapped alligator with a chicken in its mouth — had the smell of an April Fool’s Day joke to it. 

Matzek started the page March 17, mimicking a friend who built a similar Facebook page in the Utica area. He asked 25 friends to spread the word and it essentially went viral, earning 4,900 members in two weeks.

“It’s nice to see some of these businesses being at least successful and trying to stay afloat when social distancing is the key,” Matzek said. As a result of postings, he’s learning about restaurants he never knew existed, and learned more about the menus at places he already knew. Some of the most popular postings revolve around chicken wings and fish fries, he said. 

 “Our Facebook Group is growing larger by the day — and I hope everyone in Livingston County will consider doing their part to support our local businesses,” he said. 

One motivation behind the page was to create a single place where restaurants and menus could be found, Matzek said. He never expected it would generate as much interest as it has, he said.  

[email protected]/ (585) 363-7275

. ”