Camille Lauren - Summer Company 2013
I decided to apply to the Summer Company program because I wanted to build more awareness around my passion for visual art. I also had an interest in business, and I knew that there was a lot of insight and knowledge I could gain from getting a head-start through the Summer Company program.
The Small Business Enterprise Centre has provided me with foundational principles to build my business with. The take-aways I have received from the seminars, business plan reviewing and online webinars I was given access to, have had an overwhelmingly positive effect on how I view myself as both an entrepreneur and a freelance artist. I have attended both their Get Wired and Get Energized seminars, and left each time feeling extremely inspired, and having gained a list of valuable new contacts.
During the Summer Company program I identified who my target market was, which made me focus my scope. I simplified my business offerings, and leveraged my influence with other events by being featured as a live painter. I learned the art of listening to my clients, aiming to accommodate their satisfy their preferences.
This was a very memorable experience, and I will continue to recommend this program to all of the entrepreneurial-minded, aspiring youth that are in my circle. Thank you so much for accepting me!
When I returned to my second year of Illustration at OCAD University, I didn’t know that the humble beginnings of my business would continue to blossom outward. The time I invested over the summer in defining my brand, displaying pieces, selling products and live painting at events has paid me back in opportunities that only continue to increase. This Summer Company program was a launching pad that brought attention to my work through several written articles published both online and in magazines. This added legitimacy to the content I create, so as a result I have seen more engagement on my posts, and increased web traffic to my www.artofciel.com website.
Art of Ciel
Michelle Li - Summer Company 2012
When I daydream, I dream up inventions that could make my life more exciting. The main problem I had was that I never knew how to put my ideas into action. When I learned about Summer Company's funding and mentorship program, I knew it was going to be a fantastic learning opportunity.
The workshops and seminars organized by SBEC provided me with the knowledge and confidence I needed to start my business. They were helpful, fun, and gave me the opportunity to meet other students with a similar enthusiasm for innovation. All the workshops were extremely relevant and easy to apply to my business right away. One workshop that stuck out was by Jeff Bowman of the Marketing Pad. He taught us the importance of developing our personal brand and the effective strategies of sale. Jennifer Vivian, the Business Advisor was always there to help me with my business plan and to brainstorm solutions to problems I encountered throughout the summer. With my mission in mind and the training I needed, my idea materialized over time.
As a sufferer of allergies, finding gluten-free and dairy-free desserts at popular restaurants was always a problem. As a result, I made it my mission to make allergen-free ice cream available at restaurants. My company dedicates itself to manufacturing ice cream made of quality ingredients, free of added preservatives, thickeners, and modified milk ingredients. We have dairy-free, gluten-free, and high in antioxidant ice cream in innovative flavours. We distribute premium ice cream to restaurants, as well as to families in the GTA.
As my company develops and improves this year, it is always good to know the SBEC is supportive every step of the way. The Summer Company experience helped me grow as a business woman and a critical thinker. My daydreams were no longer far-fetched ideas, but actually something I could achieve. I recommend students with the desire to start their own business to apply to Summer Company. This program teaches you things that can't be taught at school!
Ryan O'Neil Knight – Summer Company 2012
Working with the SBEC has been a fantastic experience. It was because of them that I found out I was eligible for the Summer Company program and they encouraged me to apply. I have taken advantage of their seminars, access to information, consultations and business plan reviews. Kelly and Jennifer have always been there to help me and steer me in the right direction.
Learning my strengths and weaknesses with selling was an integral part. The Summer Company program helped me to take a step back and really analyze what I was doing by making me keep track of my sales and expenses. Kelly helped me focus my attention and zone into my target market and this really helped to keep me from burning out by chasing too many fish.
Summer Company should be a mandatory class in all post secondary schools because it does more than just offer funding for a student that has a dream. It gave me the ability to experience all aspects of running a business from marketing to sales to accounting to customer service. All skills that will help me with any career that I choose to enter, especially since my dream is to continue my business and make it work on a bigger scale.
Wade Proudlock – Summer Company 2009
My name is Wade Proudlock; I am the founder and owner of Apex Contracting. I started my own business at the age of eighteen out of necessity; as I was responsible for my own university tuition, and hated the prospect of working for somebody else. I was lucky enough to be accepted into the Ministry of Economic Development & Innovation's Summer Company program, which is designed to help young entrepreneurs the resources and mentorship critically needed in the early stages of business development. Summer Company gave me the confidence and resource support I needed to successfully navigate my early years profitably. Today I act as a mentor for the Summer Company program in Brampton hoping to give back some of the support I got years ago. I am a passionate advocate for youth in entrepreneurship, and believe that age is no indicator of success, size, or ability. Our communities’ youth is our strength, and business leaders of tomorrow. I am proud to be a Summer Company alumni who continues to serve and employ in Brampton and surrounding areas.
Apex Contracting - Painting & Renovations Ltd.
Rosemary Reid - Summer Company 2008
My name is Rosemary Reid and I participated in the program during the summer of 2008. It was the summer before university, and, I was told, time to get a ‘real job’. So I decided to turn my childhood passion into a legitimate business entitled Magically Inclined. It would be a one-woman extravaganza sure to take over the world... or at the very least I’d have $1500 in my pocket at the end.
The mentors for the Summer Company Program at SBEC were beside me the entire summer offering their expertise regarding my business plan and marketing scheme, and suggesting new ideas that would not have occurred to my first-time-entrepreneur-self. Thanks to their connections I saved hundreds of dollars on my (otherwise unfeasible) first professional promo shots, and they even hired me to perform at their staff party that summer!
Participating in the program gave me the encouragement to believe in myself as an entrepreneur and the confidence to consider an atypical, yet far more fulfilling, approach to my future. I went on to graduate from the Acting Program at Dalhousie University, study further in France, and have now returned to the GTA where I will continue to execute my (business) plan for world domination. Thank you Summer Company!
Martin Mihal - Summer Company 2008
I decided to apply for the summer company program a few years ago and I'm glad I did. I already had a good idea of what I wanted to do with my business, and the SBEC summer company program offered a little boost in the right direction. The funding definitely helped me purchase supplies and do some marketing, both of which are crucial in the beginning! The practical advice I received from the mentors helped as well. I can't think of a reason why any young entrepreneur would not try the program if they are serious about starting a small business. Also, the SBEC is a great place to get information and have questions answered.
I’m proud to say that my residential painting business is growing strong and still moving in the right direction since I started it. The summer company definitely helped during my 'start-up' phase.