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Game Changer - HotJobs Founder Kicks Off Venture to Help Entrepreneurs Score a Million Dollar Restaurant

PRESS RELEASE: Paid content from PR Newswire
Press release content from PR Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.
January 12, 2023 GMT
Own Your Own Logo (PRNewsfoto/Own Your Own)
Own Your Own Logo (PRNewsfoto/Own Your Own)

BURGAW, N.C., Jan. 12, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Do you watch the big game for the football or the commercials? One ad scored so big for that its founder and CEO is kicking off a new venture to help a lucky entrepreneur win a Million Dollar Restaurant.

“My new company, Own Your Own (OYO), is running a competition where the winner gets a $1 million-dollar budget to design and build the restaurant of their dreams,” says Richard Johnson.

He’s hoping entrepreneurs nationwide will apply for the opportunity. His goal is to revitalize small-town America, one business at a time. Johnson picked Burgaw, North Carolina as the kickoff location. The charming, coastal town is a short drive to beautiful beaches and historic Wilmington, one of the fastest-growing small cities in the country. Johnson says Burgaw is the perfect location to launch the first OYO competition because, like many iconic small towns, it has a strong sense of community and great bones.


“Burgaw is a great representation of small-town America,” says Johnson. “It’s got everything going for it but it just needs a spark. You can go swimming in the ocean or see a great concert all 30 minutes from downtown Burgaw.”

OYO is accepting online applications via their website through March 31, 2023. Selected competitors will come to Burgaw to compete in a series of challenges highlighting creativity and leadership as well as the ability to successfully manage a restaurant. Competitors will be judged by members of the community and a panel of award-winning chefs.

Burgaw’s iconic town square has been the backdrop of nearly 40 feature films and is home to one of the largest Blueberry Festivals in the world.

“It’s a great place to raise a family, and run a business,” Johnson said.

For more information go to Own Your Own or email

The Back Story: Described as the “gutsiest” CEO ever, Johnson is a risk taker.

In 1998, with his company on the verge of closing, Johnson mortgaged his house and assets to borrow $4 million for an ad in the “Big Game of 1999,” hoping to take his company to the next level.

That ad was a game-changer. HotJobs went public and raised over $165 million in 1999. In February of 2002, the company was sold to Yahoo for close to a half billion dollars.


Now he’s at it again – jumping into some risky business to help others get a shot at the American dream. Instead of buying another ad, he’s putting his cash behind want-to-be entrepreneurs.

Contact: Taylor Wilhelm-Kork
Phone: (443) 683-6593

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SOURCE Own Your Own