Ontario Helps Students Start Their Own Business

    McGuinty Government's Summer Company Program Provides Opportunities For

    TORONTO, Feb. 24 /CNW/ -


    Ontario students, who hope to find a summer job they love, will have a
chance to be their own boss this summer thanks to the Summer Company program.
    Summer Company is a unique program which assists young entrepreneurs with
starting and running their own eight to 12-week business over the summer. The
program provides practical hands-on business training, mentoring and the
essential business skills they need to thrive. The government expects to
accept between 300-400 students into the program in 2009.

    Key elements of the Summer Company program are:
    -   Students between the ages of 15 and 29 are qualified to apply
    -   Students can receive up to $1,500 at the start, and up to an
        additional $1,500 on successful completion of the program
    -   Application
        deadline is May 4, 2009 (or earlier if the program is


    "Summer Company gives our young people the practical, hands-on knowledge
and experience they need to view entrepreneurship as an attractive and viable
career choice," said Harinder Takhar, Minister of Small Business and Consumer
Services (http://www.sbe.gov.on.ca/ontcan/sbe/en/about_bio_takhar_en.jsp).
    "Summer Company was a great opportunity to help turn my business idea
into a reality," said Joseph Moncada, a 2006 program participant and current
owner of the Sweet Tooth Candy Emporium network. "It introduced me to new
marketing connections that have endured. I am proud to have been part of a
leading youth entrepreneurship program such as Summer Company."
    "I don't think there has ever been a better time for programs like Summer
Company," said Carol Ann Walker, Executive Director of Business Advisory
Centre Durham in Oshawa. "We're seeing a tremendous increase in interest from
youth this year. I think they realize that Summer Company has a lot to offer
besides the funding."


    -   Students who participated in the program from 2001-2006 generated an
        estimated $11.4M in revenue in 2007
    -   Summer Company program has supported almost 2,000 students since 2001
    -   In 2008, a record number of 368 students completed the program
    -   Small and medium-sized businesses represent 99 per cent of all
        businesses in Ontario.


    Summer Company interviews and B-roll clips
    are available.

    Read Summer Company Yearbooks
    and success stories.

    Find out about the Ontario government's other youth programs.

                                                      Disponible en français


                         SUMMER COMPANY PROGRAM 2009

    The Summer Company program gives students the chance to run their own
business with limited risk and the potential to earn and learn more than they
would at another summer job. With Summer Company, students create their own
job that no one else can apply for.


    -   Students between 15 and 29 years old as of April 30, 2009
    -   Must be currently a student and returning to school in the fall of
    -   Proposing a new sole proprietorship or corporation in Ontario that
        they plan to operate independently from relatives
    -   Cannot be a previous recipient of Summer Company funding
    -   Go to Summer Company website
        for more detailed eligibility criteria.


    -   Students are selected through a competitive process - applications
        reviewed and evaluated by their local program provider and the local
        business mentoring group (successful business people who volunteer to
        assist students in making their summer experience a reality)
    -   Program provider can be either a Small Business Enterprise Centre or
        a non-profit organization delivering the Summer Company program in
        each area
    -   Business plan must be submitted with application
    -   Students can contact the program provider at any time during the
        application process and get help with their application
    -   About 300-400 students will be accepted in 2009
    -   Application
        deadline is May 4, 2009 (or earlier if the program is full).


    -   Once students are accepted to the program, they receive an award of
        up to $1,500 in early summer to help with business start-up costs,
        and up to $1,500 in the fall after successfully completing the
        program and returning to school
    -   Students receive a minimum of 12 hours of hands-on business training
        from the Ministry of Small Business and Consumer Services' program
        providers, plus a mentor to offer advice on running the business
    -   Students must run their business for a minimum of eight weeks. For
        Summer Company administration purposes, businesses end before Labour


    -   Summer Company is co-ordinated and delivered through Ontario's
        network of 57 Small Business Enterprise Centres (SBECs)
        (http://www.sbe.gov.on.ca/ontcan/sbe/en/st_sbec_loc_en.jsp)and five
        non-profit organizations across the province.


    -   There are a number of youth entrepreneurship programs for young
        entrepreneurs in Ontario, including: Summer Company
        Future Entrepreneurs
        (http://www.sbe.gov.on.ca/ontcan/sbe/en/youth_future_en.jsp), the
        Ontario Secondary School Business Plan Competition
        Ontario Global Edge
        (http://www.sbe.gov.on.ca/ontcan/sbe/en/youth_global_en.jsp)and Youth
        Entrepreneurship Partnerships
    -   Summer Company is part of the government's Youth Opportunities
        Ontario. For information on other youth programs, visit Youth
        Opportunities Ontario (http://youthjobs.gov.on.ca/eng.html).


    A recent survey showed that 99 per cent of Summer Company participants
would recommend the program to a fellow student. Here's why:

    "Summer Company is a great opportunity to get mentorships. And you're
    working with other entrepreneurs, so you get a support network. You're
    not alone. You can share stories and experiences."
    -   Anthony Condello, home painting business, Hamilton

    "The staff at the business advisory centre asked me what sort of mentor I
    would like. Then they went out and got Jeff Zakoor, a professor in sports
    management at Durham College. He's an expert, and he was always there
    when I needed advice. It was great."
    -   Matthew Bourgeois, goaltending school, Durham

    "The people at the business centre in Guelph were very helpful to us.
    Their encouragement and advice was crucial. We learned a lot, and the
    money I made was a big help for school this year."
    -   Nita Heeg, produce delivery business, Guelph

    "The start-up money was very important for my business. I had to pay in
    advance to attend the craft shows, pay for insurance, and buy a banner
    and a tent. And of course I had to buy my raw materials, fabric and
    glass, to make the jewellery."
    -   Jen Van Herten, custom jewellery business, London

    "I met my best customer at a Summer Company meeting, where the students
    share issues and ideas. She was running a drama camp through Summer
    Company, and I supplied her with costumes all summer. It was great! I
    even got to make a Shrek costume."
    -   Rebekah Weisz, custom costume business, North Bay

    "It's a very productive program in terms of creating entrepreneurs.
    Eleven of my 12 Summer Company students from 2008 are going ahead with
    their businesses."
    -   Kristel Manes, Small Business Advisor, Guelph-Wellington Business
        Enterprise Centre

    "Summer Company has a lot to offer besides the funding. The one-on-one
    training and education they get from our staff and the mentors will help
    them build the life skills they need for any career path."
    -   Carol Ann Walker, Executive Director, Business Advisory Centre Durham

                                                      Disponible en français

For further information:

For further information: Sarbjit Kaur, Minister's Office, (416)
326-1949; Sue Carroll, Communications Branch, (416) 326-7480

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