If you have a great idea for a small business but short of cash, you can get a chance to be granted start-up funding from Scion. The youth brand of Toyota Motor Corp. has launched a small-business incubator competition. Scion is calling on all types of entrepreneurs to join. Scion will choose the 50 individuals with the best ideas. They will be invited to go to Los Angeles for a three-day small business conference with panelists and speakers. Those who didn’t win can still benefit since the conference will be streamed on the Web. Owen Peacock, Scion national manager of marketing and communications, clarified that they aim to turn “people's passions into a career” and so this is for those who have already made the first step, signed a lease and incorporated.
The top 50 semifinalists will vie for 10 spots that will each get $10,000, a new Scion vehicle and a six-month mentorship from a thriving small-business owner. Doug Murtha, Scion vice president, said that the young people’s mindset now is different from before. He noted that being self-sufficient is considered to be “less risky.” In addition, Scion will record the experiences of the 10 winners through Web video.
The first six months of the businesses will be documented, including their challenges and successes as well as how the Scion vehicle helped the enterprise. It will supposedly get a reality TV treatment. The primary goal of the contest is to help Scion get in touch with and stay connected to younger U.S. buyers and to attract future owners to the Toyota group. The U.S. sales of Scion have increased 50% so far this year after having sold 56,490 units through September.