Program provides great opportunity to students
MUSKOKA - This summer, full-time students between the ages of 15 and 29 can bring their business ideas to life with financial support of up to $3,000 from the provincial government.
The Ontario government’s Summer Company program is available in Muskoka again this year. This program is designed to provide students with the opportunity to start their own business and develop their entrepreneurial skills through hands-on experience along with coaching, training and mentorship from staff at the Muskoka Small Business Centre as well as other business people within the Muskoka community.
Successful applicants are eligible for an initial grant of up to $1,500 to cover start up expenses such as advertising, equipment, or inventory, just to name a few. Those who run their business all summer and complete all program requirements are eligible for an additional grant of up to $1,500. Program requirements are designed to help the student succeed and include such things as attending all training sessions, meeting with the program provider on a biweekly basis, and devoting an average of 35 hours per week to running the business.
Approximately 12 hours of formal training is provided early in the summer to get the students off on the right foot. Topics covered are geared to the needs of the group but typically cover such things as record keeping, marketing on a budget, pricing, customer service and effective sales techniques. Throughout the summer, there will be guidance and mentorship to ensure their chosen business venture succeeds.
Since 2001, the Summer Company program has helped almost 100 students in the Muskoka area, creating jobs, bringing new ideas to the marketplace, and encouraging young people to consider entrepreneurship as a career option. Students have taken on a wide variety of business challenges with ventures such as property and lawn maintenance, pet services, clothing consignment, many types of arts and crafts, a variety of food services, recreation, theatre, and many more.
Many have been very successful financially, and virtually all who participate find it a tremendous learning and confidence building experience. There were seven Muskoka Summer Companies in 2012, with a good mix of high school and post-secondary students, and of male and female students.
Summer Company is a province wide initiative where full-time students between the ages of 15 and 29 with a proposal for a new business may apply. The application is done online, and a business plan and start up budget are required as part of the process.
Summer Company 2013 is now accepting applications. The deadline is May 17, but space is limited so interested applicants are encouraged to get started as soon as they can. The Muskoka Small Business Centre administers the Summer Company program locally, and will provide guidance to the students throughout the summer, from the application process to writing the final report.
For more information please visit www.ontario.ca/summercompany or contact the Muskoka Small Business Centre at 705-646-9021, or email@example.com.