Marriott giving away $50k for restaurant concept

It sounds too good to be true, someone giving you $50,000 to help you start your own restaurant in a prime location in downtown Phoenix, they'll even pay your rent to get you started.

That's what the Marriott Renaissance Hotel wants to offer one lucky entrepreneur. 

If you've always dreamed of having your own restaurant or bar, this could be your big chance. Marriott is holding a contest for a new food and beverage concept inside its Renaissance Hotel. The winner will watch his dream come to life right in downtown phoenix thanks to business mentorship and some generous financial backing.

This space inside the Renaissance Hotel used to be a Starbucks, but by next month? It could be a new Sushi bar or taqueria. Marriott hotels want you to decide.

The company has come up with this great concept called Canvas that is a food and beverage concept lab that they're rolling out, not only here in the United States but globally.

Canvas is an incubator, hosting a contest for the next great restaurateur. The winner will turn a 1200 foot empty-space into the foodie hotspot of his or her dreams.

"So whether it's blowing out a window, putting a fresh coat of paint, redoing the floors, or creating some kind of island style concept as opposed to the traditional counter space; the sky is the limit," said Jon Erickson. Director of Sales Jon Erickson said dozens of hopefuls have already walked this space, making notes and taking measurements for their food truck, bistro, or wine bar pitch. "Anytime you give away $50,000 plus the space, plus all of the knowledge that Marriott brings as a corporation without putting their thumbprint on it really gets people excited."

In real estate they say it's all about the location, and this location is a prime spot for a restaurant at Central and Adams, one of the most heavily trafficked spots in downtown Phoenix and also next to a light rail stop. 

Canvas contestants must submit their idea online, along with photos or video that support the idea. While you don't have to be a seasoned entrepreneur, you do need some feel for the numbers. 

"They do need to submit--a business plan if you will, and just kind of an overall concept of what they'd like to see in this place," he said.

The winner of the contest will have six months to try out their idea. If the traffic is good and the concept sticks it may become a downtown fixture.

"I want to see something fresh, something exciting, something that's not quite normal, just a little twist to it if you will," said Erickson.

The deadline for submission is midnight on January 16th. At that point, a committee will review all of the proposals, narrowing them down to a pool of finalists who will be interviewed at the end of the month.

From that point, the winner will have two months to get the business up and running before it opens its doors. 

Submit your entry at

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