From selling gourmet ice cream sandwiches to custom rugs, the business opportunities offered under the Summer Company program are only limited by the imagination of a young entrepreneur.
“Summer Company is for students who want to “Be Their Own Boss” this summer, anyone looking at a career in the trades – from hairstylists to carpenters, who might want to run their own business upon graduation or someone looking to build their resume or college application by demonstrating entrepreneurship skills,” says Elizabeth Cornish, the Managing Consultant with Muskoka Small Business Centre, which administers the provincial program locally. “There are a lot of reasons students apply to be in the Summer Company program.”
Participants in the Summer Company program receive training, hands-on coaching, mentorship, and the opportunity to receive up to $3,000 in funding for their summer business. The program is available to students between the ages of 15-29 who are returning to school in the fall.
“Learning how to run your own student business is one of the best summer jobs you can have. You get to be your own boss while learning what it takes to manage a business,” says Program Coordinator, Holly Beaudoin. “Sales, marketing, bookkeeping, customer relationship management and networking are just a few of the highly useful skills you’ll develop.”
Locally the program has helped dozens of young entrepreneurs over the past 27 years.
Programs included young businesspeople marketing luxury cars, washing their customer’s machine parts, and carrying out dockside recycling services.
Two years ago, one of the more unique (and successful) ventures to get its start with the Summer Company was BAR32.
During quarantine, Sydney Carron and her sister Chloe spent their time at home experimenting with an ice cream machine and molds. From there, Sydney created BAR32, an artisanal ice cream shop which operated out of a converted mobile trailer in Port Carling, as well as offering dockside delivery. Chloe, a previous Summer Company participant, helped Sydney with the business, manning the shop and offering advice.
“By the end of the summer they literally had people lining up to see what they had created on any given day,” says Cornish.
Applications for the 2023 program will be accepted until May 20th, but we do accept students starting March 1st. Students that apply earlier have a better chance of being selected for the program because we will accept students who have a good business plan and have submitted all the related paperwork before then. Parents and students can learn more about Summer Company, program eligibility and complete an application here, but Beaudoin encourages anyone interested to contact her directly if they have questions or would like some help or advice.
“I’m happy to talk to any student who has an idea but isn’t sure if the program is for them or how they should go forward with it,” she says.
Participants can apply for our grant program here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/start-summer-company-students