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Young entrepreneurs create viable businesses in Guelph

Youth bring their business ideas to reality via the Summer Company program

Businesses created by local youth entrepreneurs took centre stage at 10C Wednesday for their business showcase.

The Summer Company, created by the provincial government, is offered to students ages 15 to 29 to create their own summer businesses.

Workshops, training, and mentorship help students become entrepreneurs. Each business receives $1,500 at the beginning of the training and another $1,500 at the end of the program.

Britany Wasswa, created her business The Ruggery. She sells custom tufted rugs with unique designs and colours.

“I used to see a lot online on Instagram and TikTok. I tried to buy a rug but it was really hard to get one, it was really high in demand so I decided to make my own,” she said.

She makes the rugs by setting up a cloth in a frame, projecting the design on the cloth, then traces the design on it. She threads the yarn in into the cloth to create the rug. 

Shaving the rugs as the last step in the process is the most satisfying part, said Wasswa. 

It takes her roughly eight hours to complete a rug. Prices range from $10 to $200 based on the design, size, amount of yarn and colours used.

“I’ve learned how to market and also just to sell my brand. Also price my items so it’s fair to customers but also fair to me and all the time I put into it,” she said.

She said she enjoys when people ask for custom designs of rugs they would like made.

Actual Vintage is a business created by Marisa Forler. She sells collectibles and other vintage pieces.

“It’s been about digital marketing for me mostly. Specifically, working on Instagram, photos, networking at events,” said Forler about what she has learned in the Summer Company program.

“I’ve improved and learned some things as well. It’s allowing me to reach more outlets.”

She researches everything she sells so she can tell the story of the vintage items to her customers. Forler has been collecting Blue Mountain Company Pottery pieces for years. Some pieces sold elsewhere are replicas or knockoffs. She said to know if the piece is a true Blue Mountain made piece, it has the BMP logo on it.

“My mission vision for the company was not only to provide higher-quality roofing to the community, but also a more personal customer service approach,” said Elijah Jimenez, owner of Hands-On Roofing Co.

Jimenez has seven years worth of experience in the roofing industry and this has helped him start his own roofing business.

He is studying hospitality and tourism management at the University of Guelph and he said it has helped him apply those skills with this business venture.

Another home exterior business is Pressure Washing Solutions from Adam Pronk.

“Basically, I’ve actually learned how to sell the stuff because I don’t have much business experience,” said John Mitchell of John’s Woodturning. Mitchell's father used to be a woodturner so he learned a little bit from him and started making wooden bowls, vases and puzzles to sell.

Other businesses part of the Summer Company are Casa Deep Dish Pizza created by Matteo Furfaro and FUNGYOTE, by Olive Murphy who sells coyote teeth earrings and other fun crafts.


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Santana Bellantoni

About the Author: Santana Bellantoni

Santana Bellantoni was born and raised in Canada’s capital, Ottawa. As a general assignment reporter for Guelph Today she is looking to discover the communities, citizens and quirks that make Guelph a vibrant city.
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