As it nears the end of its second decade, the area’s Summer Company program is looking to the future with optimism if not certainty.
The Leeds Grenville Small Business Enterprise Centre launched its 19th annual Summer Company program at the Brockville Country Club on Thursday evening. Eight students will spend the summer learning entrepreneurship on the ground.
The provincially funded local agency has enough money for nine spots this year and hopes to fill the ninth after another student pulled out, said Jeanette Johnston, the entreprise centre’s business development co-ordinator.
That’s still down from 12 participants last year, the result of provincial government funding cuts.
Enterprise centre manager Wendy Onstein recently said the government has cut $99,000 from the budget of the centre – about 30 per cent.
Onstein said Thursday she is confident the Summer Company program will mark its 20th anniversary next year and continue into the future, albeit perhaps in a different form.
“We’re going to have to do things differently kind of across the board,” she said.
“Right now we’re just trying to figure out what that’s gong to look like for us, but this program, as long as we have the opportunity to deliver it, we will deliver it.”
The Summer Company program provides students with hands-on business training and mentoring. Participants get up to $1,500 in early summer to help with business start-up costs, and another $1,500 in the fall, upon completion of the program and proof of returning to school.
They get to meet every two weeks with a local business mentoring group for support and advice on operating their summer business.
As always, this year’s Summer Company participants hail from across the twin-county area.
* Danica Cole, of Augusta Township, will run EcoCharge Vintage, buying second-hand clothes and accessories and “up-cycling” them “for those who are conscious of the environment and the ‘reuse’ movement,” program officials noted. She will be selling at the Brockville Farmers’ Market, online and at other events in the community. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 613-340-1683.
* Michael Fenn, Best-in-Festival for voice at the recent Lions music festival, is heading up Joyful Sound Music Studio in Athens. He will be available in Brockville at St John’s Anglican
Church and in Athens, by request, to give singing lessons to individuals who are in the starting phases of exploring their voice and music. He can be reached at: email@example.com or 613-246-3507.
* Joshua Gilbey, of North Grenville, will take nature photos of the area and selling them at North Grenville and area markets and retail outlets with Shot 2 See Photography. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 289-928-1783.
* Equine Bonnet Stop is the name of Katie Gilpin’s summer company in North Grenville. She will be creating bonnets for horse owners to protect their horses’ ears from flies and other insects, crocheting bonnets in different colours and styles to market to horse barns in North Grenville. She can be reached at: email@example.com or 613-258-3384.
* Mark Gilpin, also of North Grenville and Katie’s brother, will run Oxford Photo Restoration, restoring photos using digital software and techniques. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 613-408-3384.
* Izattek is the name of Chad Izatt’s Brockville company. He will be assisting seniors and inexperienced adults on how to use their technology effectively, including written instructions on everything from computers or tablets to Apple TVs. Chad can be reached at:
email@example.com or 613-530-6934.
* With Little India, Prutha Patel, of Brockville, will showcase some of the traditions of India. Her
main feature will be henna tattoos, explaining the history behind the tattoos while she is creating them. She will also sell Indian accessories. Prutha can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 613-340-1459.
* Lauren Pringle, of Augusta Township, will sell journals with WeDoMore Journals. For each sale of a journal 75 per cent of the revenue goes to the purchaser’s charity of choice. A list will be provided of the local charities. Officials noted this is “our first Summer Company social enterprise.” Lauren can be reached at: email@example.com or 613-498-4905.