KINGSTON – With summer right around the corner, the Summer Company program is now accepting applications from young, independent, driven students looking to give entrepreneurship a try.
Summer Company, run through the Kingston Economic Development Corporation (KEDCO), is a program for students 15 to 29 years old who will be heading back to either secondary or post-secondary school in the fall.[the_ad id=”3118″]
“[The program was started] to give [students] the opportunity to try entrepreneurship before making that full commitment,” Katie Ross, business development officer with KEDCO, said. “They come to us with their business idea and we help them with business plan writing as well as financial projections and then we evaluate them.”
The program includes a $3,000 startup grant to help offset some of the startup costs. The way it’s delivered, Ross said, is that they get $1,500 at the beginning of the summer, when they enter the program, and they get $1,500 at the end, when they’ve completed it.
This year there are 15 spaces available locally for students.
“We’ve already received approximately 10 inquiries at this early phase,” Ross said.
Once each application has been received and given a basic evaluation, the students are brought in to pitch their company ideas.[the_ad id=”3121″]
“It’s just like the Dragons’ Den and they pitch to a panel of local entrepreneurs who then decide if they get into the program,” Ross said. “We’ve seen businesses from lawn care and painting, to last year we had a luthier [guitar builder] to a lot of arts like photography, videography, graphic design and some app developers.”
Throughout the summer, the students receive some in-class training, guest speakers, one-on-one coaching and mentoring from local business leaders.
“We offer training on sales and marketing, how to approach your first customer or even potential opportunities for people to go out and source other sources for funding,” Ross said.
Through the Summer Company program, post-secondary students are required to commit to 420 hours and high school students to 280 hours.
“It’s like taking on a full-time job,” Ross said. “There is no anticipation that they continue the business [once the summer ends]. We do look at those at a higher level and continue to offer support after the program is done. They’ll fall under our umbrella of youth services.”[the_ad id=”3131″]
For students who are interested but aren’t sure what the next steps are, there is an eligibility checklist on the program’s website to help determine if they could qualify.
“They can answer 10 questions, and once they pass that, we’re provided with their contact information to begin the conversation very early in the process,” Ross said. “We help them with their application.”
The applications deadline is May 19.
The Summer Company program is a provincial initiative that has been run locally through KEDCO since 2001.
“This year [in Kingston], we will have had more than 300 [go] through the program,” Ross said.
For more information, call 613-544-2725 or go online to ygksummercompany.com.
The Kingston Whig-Standard 2018 ©