It can be a daunting task starting a new business from scratch.
With a passion for rock climbing, Kevin Allen wanted to turn that into a career. Despite his business degree and a desire for success, there were unseen challenges and hurdles between where he was and where he wanted to be. With the help of programs like Starter Company, Kevin and his business partner Trevor Davis were able to get Toprock Climbing, Brampton’s first rock climbing gym, off the ground.
“Working with the City of Brampton’s Entrepreneur Centre, Starter Company gave us connections to answer questions that we didn’t even know we had,” said Kevin, who also received a $5,000 grant from Starter Company. “It helped us get through zoning issues and make connections that have proven invaluable; not only as we moved towards opening, but in helping our business grow.”
The Province of Ontario recently modified the Starter Company program to Starter Company Plus, extending the age range for applicants from 18-29 to anyone over 18 years of age. The Brampton Entrepreneur Centre delivers this program through training, mentoring and grant opportunities to start, expand or buy a small business.
Starter Company Plus will help entrepreneurs by providing:
• One-on-one guidance from the Brampton Entrepreneur Centre
• Access to business experts, workshops and networking events
• Training and business skills development
• An opportunity to receive a grant of up to $5,000 to kick off a new business or expand an existing business
“As one of Canada’s fastest growing cities, Brampton is one of the best places to start a business,” said Bob Darling, Director of Economic Development and Culture at the City of Brampton. “Programs like Starter Company Plus make it even better by putting a team of seasoned professionals on the ground to support entrepreneurs. This creates new opportunities for people to strike out on their own and be their own boss.”
Offering both day-use and a membership, Toprock Climbing is Kevin’s way of sharing his passion with others. It caters to both experienced climbers and those who are interested in giving it a try.
There were times when Kevin wasn’t sure his dream was going to become a reality. It is not an uncommon experience among new business ventures, whether they experience funding issues, can’t find an appropriate space or run into unexpected expenses.
“It is all about perseverance,” he said. “You are going to hit major roadblocks along the way that you think are debilitating and will keep you from even getting started. But you have to keep moving forward and stay focused on your main goal.”
For more information about entrepreneurship programs at the Brampton Entrepreneur Centre, click here.