Summer Company opens applications for young entrepreneurs hoping to start a business

Photo by: Brenden Cowan

If you are a young entrepreneur looking for a way to start your business, you might want to consider the Summer Company.

The Summer Company is funded by the Ontario government and allows individuals aged 15 to 29 to apply for the program, which provides successful applicants funding and membership to start and grow their own businesses. Applications have just opened to the program for 2023.

The Summer Company has allowed Tyler Snure to start his company, Snure Stories, which allowed him to follow his dreams of becoming a full-time author. The 21-year-old St. Catharines native has now published two novels as part of his series, The Jewels of Fate, with the most recent entry having launched last summer.

“Before I did the Summer Company program, I knew nothing about running a business,” said Snure. “But I did know that being a writer or an author, especially if you’re doing it full-time, is a business. So it is necessary to learn those skills, and more of the entrepreneurial side of writing that a lot of authors don’t think about, or don’t really enjoy. That’s what really pushed me towards the program.”

Snure has gained a lot from the program, and he says there’s more to it than just financial support. The Summer Company has not only allowed him to start his business, but also to excel in the business world.

“It’s not just about funding, it’s also about mentorship,” said Snure. “There are mentors who are professional business owners in the Niagara Region who agree to be a part of this program. They are experts in the industry, so they can help you depending on the business you’re starting. You get paired with someone else in your industry. They give you tips like marketing, sales, time management, finance management; all kinds of stuff.”

Those who are selected can receive up to $3,000 in funding; $1,500 of which is given at the start of the process to help startup the business, and the other $1,500 is given to those who successfully finish the program.

But the program seeks young entrepreneurs who show promise, and as such, they must prove they are dedicated to their work. Snure says that gaining full support from the Summer Company is not as easy as simply applying – one must first show commitment to their craft.

Those who are thinking of applying should be ready to dedicate serious time and energy to their business venture. For example, high school students are required to spend at least 280 hours working on their business over the summer, and for post-secondary students, they should expect a minimum of 420.

More expectations of selected applicants include the opening and operating of a bank account for the business, agreement to an on-site visit with a program provider and the spending of the first payment within the first 30 days.

The guidelines for the program are strict, and Snure acknowledges the hard work he had to put in to find success.

“We had meetings every two weeks. We would go into the Summer Company office downtown, and we’d have a meeting. We’d talk about how the last two weeks went, growing our business, what we learned, what we’re struggling with, what we need help with; all that kind of stuff.”

Snure’s relationship with the Summer Company started with a guest speaker in his high school entrepreneurship class. He is grateful to his entrepreneurship teacher, Holly Etherington, for encouraging him to apply.

“We actually had the head of the Summer Company program come and give a guest presentation to our class, and afterwards, Mrs. Etherington told me that I should consider applying. That was what started me on the trajectory of the Summer Company. As soon as I found out what they were all about, what they did, I’m like, ‘yes, this is amazing, I want to be a part of this.’”

Snure believes that the Summer Company is also special because it can appeal to each individual’s needs. Every person can grow in their own way using the help of the program, and what one person might find most valuable may be entirely different for someone else.

“One of the biggest takeaways I learned was networking. There were two big events that we participated in and the whole point of these events was to throw us to the wolves by getting us to meet other business owners—people who weren’t associated with the Summer Company program. At first, it was really intimidating, but then you quickly realize that they’re very welcoming. The other thing is they’re still learning too, and the whole point of networking is learning to find those people where it’s ‘how can I help you, how can you help me,’ and making those connections. I didn’t realize how important that is in business. It’s just a good life skill, too.”

While those who are in the Summer Program can certainly expect support in their business ventures, they should also be prepared to dedicate themselves toward this passion.

Information on eligibility for the Summer Company program can be found here.

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