Summer Company Program
The Summer Company program provides hands-on business training and mentoring – together with awards of up to $3,000 – to help enterprising young people start up and run their own summer business.
Summer Company is coordinated and delivered at the community level through the government's Small Business Enterprise Centres by way of business mentoring groups. Business mentoring groups consist of volunteer business advisors from the local community.
If successful, a student receives:
An award of up to $1,500 in May/June to help with business start-up costs, and a $1,500 award in September upon the successful completion of their Summer Company business and returning to school;
A minimum of 12 hours of business training;
An opportunity to regularly meet with a local business mentoring group for support and advice on operating their summer business.
Use the link to learn more: http://www.ontario.ca/summercompany
Look for registration to start in early spring for 2017.
Invite us into your classroom, WASBEC will:
- Briefly discuss the components of a business plan
- Discuss Summer Company
Summer Company Program
Duration: 30 minutes, includes video presentation
2016 SUMMER COMPANY PARTICIPANTS
Jacob Dubois, 16
“About a year ago I got interested in DJing,” said Jacob Dubois, a Huron Park Secondary School student. “With the grant, I got a couple of speakers, a board that I can run music off of, some lights, kind of like the basic stuff that many DJs have.”
Just last weekend he DJed a local wedding for a young couple.
Dubois is hoping that word of mouth will help him build a larger client base.
He had already DJed a few parties for friends when his older sister suggested he apply for the Summer Company program.
“I thought, that would be cool, really give me a chance to take my little kind of business to the next step,” Dubois said.
Upgrading the equipment – previously he was using a large Bluetooth speaker – was crucial.
Dubois said the hardest part of being his own boss is trying to prove himself in the industry.
“I find I get almost pushed aside a little bit, because they see me as inexperienced or they don’t think I’ll do as good of a job. That’s the biggest challenge I’m facing,” he said.
But Dubois’ situation also gives him an edge.
“As a student DJ, my rates are lower than professional DJs, so I’m a lot more affordable."
To Your Door
Lydia Byl has always loved spending time with older adults. When her Opa moved into a seniors residence, she realized how many families struggle with supporting aging relatives.
“I think there are a lot of people who just don’t have people coming out to help them,” Byl said.
So she started a company to do just that – To Your Door.
“It’s geared towards helping seniors stay independent in their living,” she said. Supports could include grocery delivery – the initial plan for Byl’s company – or tasks like walking dogs and cleaning that can be difficult for those with mobility challenges.
“It’s pretty flexible,” she said. “It’s actually really nice to just help people out with things that they want.”
An entrepreneurial class at her school helped Byl draft a solid business plan.
“I wanted to start and test the waters, so I had my first customer by April,” she said.
Then a guidance counsellor suggested she apply for the Summer Company program.
Byl said she’s excited to focus on her business full time now that school is out. She’s been busy blanketing Tillsonburg with flyers.
It can be tricky is to spread the word about To Your Door without stepping on any toes, she said.
“Some people will almost be offended by you offering their service, and other people will say ‘this is the best thing I’ve ever seen,’” Byl said.
But the business continues to grow slowly and steadily.
For Byl, the motivation is simple.
“I really like being around people,” she said.
“I like helping people.”
Jessica Phelps, 18
Singing Brook Arts camp
It’s the same camp where Jessica Phelps and her sister spent summers as kids. A few years later, they both worked as counsellors. Now Phelps is stepping into a new role with Singing Brook Arts Camp – owner.
“It’s a great experience, and we need to keep it going for kids because we loved it so much as children,” Phelps said.
Along with her older sister Courtney, Phelps is bringing the camp out of a brief hiatus after a previous owner died.
“We thought it would be a good idea and a good investment to help for university,” said Phelps, who is starting a business degree in September.
But for now she’s focused on creating a great experience for kids over the next six weeks.
“We’re on a farm, just by Cowan Park. We’re outside all day. We offer science, nature, sports, crafts and everything in between,” Phelps said.
Campers are also treated to visits from special guests. So far they’ve got a Zumba instructor and a police dog lined up.
The Phelps sisters are gearing up for the start of camp next week, and they intend to continue running Singing Brook throughout the summers during university.
It’s a lot to manage, Phelps said, especially on top of regular classes and homework, but she’s excited to keep their favourite childhood camp going.
“It should be a good summer.”
Kristen Sehn, 29
She started out as a professional performer. But about five years ago, Kristen Sehn found a creative pursuit that was even better.
“I’m an artist…so I do a little bit of everything,” she said. “I started to do film and fell in love.”
This summer she’s building her business, Kricket Shots, doing photography and videography work for local companies.
“I’m mostly focused on marketing and advertising,” Sehn said. “My main target is to advertise doing commercials and campaigns…to get their products out there, building a concept. I like to build ideas.”
She’s also offered her photography services to groups that need to spruce up employee headshots.
“That’s your first impression to a lot of people. They want to know who you are. They’ll Google you and see that head,” Sehn said.
The headshots help to connect Sehn with clients that might utilize her other services.
“Being able to market and advertise brings in so much more creativity, to think of a concept and make a fun commercial,” Sehn said, stressing the importance of sharing videos online to capture an audience.
She’s headed back to school in the fall, starting a nursing program at Fanshawe, but Sehn intends to keep Kricket Shots going as a side project.
“It’s also a chance for me to have a creative outlet,” she said.
“I’m so happy to have found this outlet.”
Sarah Hyland, 16
It’s a marriage of art and French. Sarah Hyland is hoping to put her second language and her passion for art together to help kids develop French and creative skills.
“Hopefully they can pick up some French – or improve it – but also have fun while making art, and take something home,” she said.
Classes for five to eight year olds will run every weekday morning, and kids nine to 12 will have their turn in the afternoon. Each session is two hours.
“You learn better through the experiences of doing stuff,” Hyland said, so it’s the perfect way to help kids beef up their French skills.
She came up with the idea after a five-month trip to France.
“When I came back we had to do a semester-long project, so I thought maybe I can do art classes, because I like art and French,” Hyland said.
The classes will expose budding artists to a variety of media.
“They could be working with clay or painting rocks and making sculptures,” she said.
So far Hyland’s enjoyed the experience of running her own business, even though it’s been hectic trying to plan during the school year.
“I get to enjoy what I’m doing. It’s kind of fun to be your own boss.”