Clifford Takeout claims prize in 2020 PitchIt Minto competition

MINTO – The Town of Minto and LaunchIt Business Exploration Centre have announced the winner of the 2020 PitchIt Minto Business Plan Competition.

Clifford Takeout has won this year’s competition.

PitchIt! started in 2012 to grow small businesses in Minto and increase awareness of the resources available.

“The competition has grown and evolved over time, but this year certainly was the most interesting with the COVID-19 crisis striking just a week after the program launched,” officials note.

Business & Economic Manager Belinda Wick-Graham stated that three entries were received, and all were deemed worthy to move on to submitting full business plans.

“We really had no idea if we would get any applications when COVID-19 hit so we were very pleased to receive three strong submissions” said Wick-Graham. The other two finalists were: Jiggers BBQ Sauce owned by Jeffery Mock from Harriston, and Unique Fashions and Treasures, located in downtown Harriston, owned by Tammy and James Lorentz.

PitchIt Minto offers prizing for the winner and all finalists as well as a pool of prizing that can be customized based on the needs of the finalists. Thanks to the support of community sponsors $25,000 in cash and prizes has been awarded in 2020.

“I found this years PitchIt even more inspiring than it usually is. In these challenging times, to see these businesses find the time and energy to work on and write their business plans was amazing,” said competition judge John Burgess.

“This shows just what Minto businesses are made of and to see the hopefulness for the future despite the challenges gives hope to everyone. This year more than ever there were no winners or losers, because they all are truly winners.”

Sean and Carolyn LeMay purchased Clifford Takeout in January 2020. The eatery offers pizza, panzerottis, salads and subs. They also source many of their ingredients locally “thereby further enhancing and supporting the local economy,” officials note.

“This restaurant adds to the great compliment of restaurants in Clifford and the LeMay’s are the first to point out that they see the other restaurants in Clifford as assets and they all build off and support each other. Together they make Clifford a great dining destination, providing a great ‘stop along the way’ for people passing through but also adding to a vibrant downtown for the locals,” states a June 18 press release.

“For entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs, the benefits of creating a business plan are incalculable. The mental process of asking the tough questions, analyzing market data and competition, and anticipating roadblocks and pitfalls and then finding solutions is the actual reward. However, the inertia of our daily lives often prevents us from doing our due diligence,” the LeMays said after being notified of their win.

“The Pitch-It program is ingenious.  It offers the incentives and deadlines to break that inertia. Congratulations to the other finalists, their rewards are well deserved, and their businesses will be better off for years to come.  Thank you to Belinda Wick-Graham, the judges, the sponsors and the Town of Minto for having the inspiration to implement this program in the first place and to evolve it over the years into the great initiative it has become.

“Everybody wins: the contestants, our customers, the Town of Minto!”  the LeMays state.

“Ninety per cent of Ontario’s economy is fueled by small business. Congratulations to all the participants for having the courage and strength to rally their businesses forward to support the local economy during these difficult times. Bravo!!” said judge Kristel Manes.

Entrepreneurs are encouraged to watch for the 10th Anniversary PitchIt Competition launching in March 2021. For details contact Wick-Graham, at or 519-338-2511 ext. 241.