Free rent! Edmonton company doesn’t need its office, so it could be yours

EDMONTON –

Some prime office space is available on Jasper Avenue and the rent will be free for the next two years.

A local business owner will even throw in free internet, furniture and a printer, also each for two years, to a small business that wins his contest.

“There is no strings attached. Don’t be afraid, there’s no hidden agenda, this is just turn the key. You get the key, kick butt and take on the world,” Tim Carwell told CTV News Edmonton.

Carwell doesn’t need his office anymore.

When the pandemic hit, he sent his CommAlert employees home to work, and he has no plans to bring them back.

“I challenged the team to ask, “What do you want to do with this office? And we thought, why not create a new opportunity for a small business and give them a leg up,” he explained.

The lease isn’t up until January 2024. The contest winner will be responsible for other costs, and renewing a rental agreement with the property owner if they want to.

The application process opened Tuesday, and the official rules are posted online.

The top five entries will be invited to “live pitch” their business plan, and the winner will be chosen by a panel of local leaders.

Carwell said he wants to award a dynamic company that values diversity.

“We’re looking to understand how they’re going to change the world. There are 61,000 First Nations people in Edmonton, of which I’m one, who probably aren’t getting the same amount of access as other businesses,” he said.

One of the judges is a former mayoral candidate, who believes the space is a great spot for collaboration.

“It really contributes to being able to build relationships. To build trust and know your team members in very deep ways,” Cheryll Watson said.

The winner gets to move in Jan. 1, the application deadline is Dec. 10.

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Touria Izri

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