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Summer Company offers 12 young entrepreneurs a chance to run their own business (4 photos)

This year's businesses include ukulele lessons for seniors, home baked cookies, window cleaning and clothing designs

From ukulele lessons in seniors' facilities to home baked cookies, 12 Guelph students will be running their own businesses this summer as part of the Summer Company initiative.

The Summer Company is administered by the Business Centre Guelph-Wellington through funding from the provincial government.

It's open for students 15 to 29 who will be returning to school in the fall. Successful applicants receive a $1,500 to start up their summer business, receive mentorship, advice and practical help in running it through the summer and then if they run their business for the entire summer are eligible for another $1,500 grant.

Plus they get to keep the money they make.

"They have to develop a business plan and once it's accepted they get their $1,500 in start-up funds," said Business Centre Guelph-Wellington executive director Kristel Manes.

"We work with them throughout the summer, they learn about marketing, operations, financial management. They get a lot of support and we have a bookkeeper that works with them to help them keep books," Manes said.

There have been some Summer Company businesses in the past that have continued on beyond the summer, such as Guelph's Sandbox Software Solutions, which now employs 17 people, Manes said.

"They are registered. They're a legit business and it's a legit opportunity for them," Manes said.

The program has been around over 15 years, Manes said.

For the lucky 12 businesses, it's the chance to be their own boss and do something they enjoy.

"Music is my passion, I thought this would be a great thing to do instead of getting a job," said Nicole Magnish, a second year University of Guelph student whose Uke Can Do It! business offers ukulele lessons to the residents of long term care and retirement homes.

She already has three customers signed up.

Caleb Holley dabbled with a window cleaning business last summer and made $1,700. He went all-in this summer.

"It all started when my parents would clean the windows of our house and leave streaks all over the place," he said.

He will be investing the first $1,500 in some equipment.

"It's better than working somewhere else. I can set my own hours and be in control of it," he said.

Bishop Macdonell Grade 10 student Emily Faustino will be at the Downtown Guelph farmer's market on Wednesday's selling her Picture Perfect Cookies.

"The lemon sugar and chocolate chip are the most popular," she said.

Faustino also likes the idea of being her boss and doing something she grew up loving to do with her mother and grandmother rather than working at a traditional summer job.

"Why not do something I love?" she said.

There were roughly 50 applicants locally, said Business Centre advisor Olga Geoge-Cosh, with 12 being selected.

The 12 are:

  • Jarrett Blair, Luna ID; a mobile app that instantly identifies insects
  • Daniel Cassar, Royal City Window Cleaning; residential window cleaning service
  • Taylor Heine, Taylor Heine Designs; design and visualization services
  • Nicole Magnish, Uke Can Do It!; ukulele music lessons to residents in retirement and long term care facilities
  • Kieran Naus, Kieran Summer Services; deck and patio cleaning and painting
  • Caleb Holley, Caleb's Window Cleaning Services; window cleaning
  • Saad Saood, Blue Shoes; clothing images and designs
  • Timor Dahi, Clothing By Timor; sewing and clothes design
  • Ashton Martin, SIP Entertainment; various forms of creative media services
  • Emily Faustino, Picture Perfect Cookies; baked goods
  • Ruiyan (Katherine) Zhang, Blossom Piano Studio; piano and music theory classes
  • Rhiannon Downie, Space Ace Apparel; original art printed on apparel


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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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