Ethan Conrad looks to give free rent to growing company

Ethan Conrad Properties Inc. is again searching for an up-and-coming business in the Sacramento region to help take to the next level by offering rent credit.

Established companies with $100,000 in annual revenue have until Aug. 30 to enter Ethan Conrad Properties’ Small Business Contest, which will be judged by entrepreneurs, investors and venture capitalists including Conrad, Moneta Ventures LLC managing partner Lokesh Sikaria and DCA Partners managing partner Curt Rocca.

Conrad’s firm has emerged in the last seven years or so as the most prolific commercial property investor in the region, buying up dozens of retail, office and industrial properties.

Ken MillerEthan Conrad Properties’ chief operating officer, said the panel will look for company qualities such as strong management and ability to scale up. Being original will also be a big plus.

“We are looking for uniqueness with believability,” Miller said in an email. “Our contest is for businesses that already have a track record, so the contestants are not just presenting concepts.”

This is the second year in a row Ethan Conrad Properties has put on the contest, with free rent at one of Conrad’s properties the top prize last year as well. Miller said last year’s winner of $50,000 in rent credit, glass and window repair company Glass Guru, is negotiating for a spot at a property the company owns in Carmichael. Companies that won second and third place as well as two runner-up spots are either applying their lesser rent credit amounts to an existing lease, negotiating to use it in a lease or are planning to use it in the future, according to Miller.

The winner in this year’s contest would receive $50,000 in rent credit. Second- and third-place winners would get rent credits at Ethan Conrad Properties’ holdings worth $30,000 and $20,000, respectively.

Miller said the contest this year is easier to enter, and winners will receive feedback and mentoring during the entry process. Entrants will have less time to make presentations on the judging night, and will have to cover specific issues such as financial outlook. Every presenting company will get suggestions and mentoring from the judging panel.

Contest applications can be found at Ethan Conrad Properties’ website.  Winners will be announced the week of Oct. 2