THUNDER BAY – BUSINESS – The Thunder Bay and District Entrepreneur Centre marked the two-year anniversary of the official launch of the Ontario government’s Starter Company program, which provides training, mentoring, and a potential grant of up to $5,000 for those with a winning business plan. Twenty-five grants have been awarded to young entrepreneurs, who have used the money to purchase inventory, secure a store space, advertise, and help with other start-up costs.
To date, nearly one hundred youth have taken advantage of the training, tools, and resources provided by Starter Company. CEO Doug Murray says, “This has been a great program that provides comprehensive training and has created or enhanced a multitude of businesses. Many Starter Company participants continue to be successful and even employ other people.”
CEDC CEO Doug Murray Explains Starter Program
“We’ve seen some amazing candidates start and grow their businesses, and it’s been inspiring to see the immense variety of business types and the uniqueness of these entrepreneurs,” adds Ryan Moore, Development Officer for the Entrepreneur Centre. “Starter Company has been a very worthwhile experience for these participants, whether or not they were awarded a grant.”
Starter Company is provincially funded through the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure (MEDEI) as part of the Youth Jobs Strategy. Program participants must be between the ages of 18 to 29 and pursuing their business full-time. Paired with a winning business plan, grant applicants must have owner’s equity that amounts to 25 per cent of the grant. There are another 23 Starter Company grants to be distributed in Thunder Bay and area from now through March 31, 2017.
“Supporting businesses and communities with important investments such as Starter Company is part of our Growth Plan for Northern Ontario,” said Hon. Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines and MPP Thunder Bay – Superior North. “By having our Small Business Enterprise Centres open and ready for business in Northern cities, we can offer a range of great programming including Starter Company to help these companies thrive. In many cases, the businesses that are founded through the Starter Company program continue on, and grow into great Northern enterprises.”
“It’s very rewarding to see the successes of our youth who have participated in our government’s Starter Company program,” said Hon. Bill Mauro, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry and MPP Thunder Bay – Atikokan. “By investing in young entrepreneurs, we are providing the training and resources needed to run successful businesses which ultimately will result in growing our economy and creating jobs.”
Mayor Hobbs adds, “Entrepreneurship is a community staple and small business is vital in driving the economy of Thunder Bay. Our young people are Thunder Bay’s future, and judging from youth initiatives like Starter Company, I believe our community is in good hands.”
Starter Company successes include Brighter Days Elderly Services, Red Zone X Fitness, Pour Boys Stone and Concrete, Costal Productions, Jean-Paul De Roover Inc., Lockstitch Fabrics, and 2Shelter Tent Rentals. More information on Starter Company including a full list of successful grant recipients can be found on the Entrepreneur Centre’s website – www.EntrepreneurCentre.ca