Almost one-third of the businesses owned by Canadian youth are located here in Ontario, and for good reason. Along with access to the same services all entrepreneurs have, Ontario offers programs geared specifically toward youth. It is very important to encourage young people to consider entrepreneurship as a viable career option and to give them the chance to experience it while they are young. This is the aim of the Summer Company program, a province wide initiative of the government of Ontario.
The Summer Company program has grown in popularity over the last few years as more and more young people become interested in exploring the world of self-employment. The objective of the program is to create opportunities for aspiring young entrepreneurs to experience the hard work required to research, plan, and launch a business, while developing their entrepreneurial skills. Students between the ages of 15-29 can receive a grant of up to $3,000 to start and operate their business for the summer.
Upon acceptance into the program, students receive business training, coaching and guidance from mentors. Mentors are local, experienced business professionals who share their experience and expertise with the students. Under this program, students not only provide jobs for themselves, they often hire other students, creating employment opportunities in the local youth community.
Students can be very creative with their business ideas. Past Summer Company businesses include a swimming school, a record label, a lawn maintenance company, and a clothing label. The students who participated in this program have confirmed that the wide ranging skills they acquired through participation in the program were more valuable than the money they earned.