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Students take advantage of summer jobs program

Business Centre Guelph-Wellington's Summer Company program pays, and teaches, students who start their own business

From homemade vegan perfume to delicious curry pies and a platform that provides a unique marketing concept, 10 Guelph students will be learning their business basics this summer.

The Business Centre Guelph-Wellington's Summer Company Program officially launched on Thursday at the centre's Macdonell Street office.

The program sees high school and post-secondary students from Guelph and Wellington County start fresh businesses with the assistance and training of the Business Centre and mentorship from local business people.

This year's group ranges in age from 15 to 29.

"It's been running for about 18 years now, funded through the provincial government," said Kristel Manes, executive director of the Business Centre. "It's a process that starts back in January when they start writing business proposals."

Businesses accepted into the program get $1,500 up front to start their business then work the summer, attending training sessions through the business centre along the way, then get another $1,500 if they complete the program requirements. Plus they keep whatever they make in the summer.

"We have companies that have started in the Summer Company program in Guelph that have gone on to become big companies," Manes said.

"Whether they choose to do this just for the summer ... it still gives them great marketing skills. It's a great thing to put on a resume," she said.

Anika Kew Brandstetter started Heather & Hare, a vegan perfume and cosmetics company.

University of Guelph fourth-year business student Luqman Osman created a platform that connects businesses and drivers who are willing have the business advertised on their cars via vinyl stickers, for a fee.

"We have all these busses driving around with decals and advertising ... that's not efficient for a small business. I thought 'how about we pay a driver to advertise for small businesses?'"

He connects to two parts of the equation and arranges the decals.

Ethan Nelson started Ponsonby Pies, making a variety of baked goods, including chicken curry pie, brownies and apple strudel.

"If it wasn't for the program I'm not sure I'd be starting my own business," Nelson said.

"I've always liked baking, but I've definitely taken it more serious now that I've started my own business."

Nelson is being mentored by local chef Tim Halley and sells his pies at Halley's stall at the Guelph Farmer's Market.

"It's going to be a great experience," said Nelson, who will be heading to college in the fall to study accounting.

This year's roster of businesses:

- Harp String Media Video Production

- Trius Marketing Solutions

- Laid Back Latin Dance Lessons

- Carxtic, an advertising platform that puts vinyl ads on people's cars

- Jer Harman Photography

- Tommy Yanchus deck cleaning, sanding and staining business

-  Heather and Hare Natural Cosmetics

- Wiggle Giggle Pet Supplies

- Ponsonby Pies & Baked Goods

- Tarkan's Turkish Cuisine


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Tony Saxon

About the Author: Tony Saxon

Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 30 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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