Student Ventures Showcased at Summer Company Launch

Student Ventures Showcased at Summer Company Launch
MP Eric Duncan, Lillian Reid (The Button Gallery), Dolev Klein Harari (LowKey Tech), Abdul Khan (Arks Cards), Pascale Wabo Nana (Pasrel Clean Services), Abigail Rose (Rose Arts & Design), and MPP Nolan Quinn. Absent Nicolle Delgado (CultiveAide) and Fajr Shamshad Gondal (Basketeria). (Photo : Jason Setnyk photo)

The official launch event for the Summer Company program took place at the Civic Complex in Cornwall on June 27, 2024. Students looking to do something different this summer had the opportunity to apply for funding to help them start a small business through the Summer Company program. Funded by the Government of Ontario, this initiative provided start-up money and included guidance and mentorship from the Cornwall Business Enterprise Centre and local business leaders.

Participants in the Summer Company program had the chance to learn valuable skills such as sales, marketing, bookkeeping, customer relationship management, and networking. These skills helped them manage their summer businesses and laid a foundation for potential long-term success.

“The creativity that sparks the entrepreneurial spirit can start at any age,” said Shauna Baggs, Business Consultant with the Cornwall SDG Business Enterprise Centre. “The Summer Company Program gives students the tools they need to develop their idea into a full-time summer job and may even be the beginning of a successful long-term business.”

To be eligible, students had to be in school and returning in the fall, live in Cornwall, S.D.G, or Akwesasne, be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, be between 15-29 years old, not already be running a business, and not be working at another job or attending school for more than 12 hours a week during the program. Accepted students received up to $1,500 for start-up costs and an additional $1,500 upon completing the program requirements for up to $3,000 in grant awards.

Seven students took advantage of this program to launch their businesses. Lillian Reid started “The Button Gallery.” “I grew up in an entrepreneurial household and learned the business basics early on. The idea behind the buttons is to highlight local artists,” said Reid.

Dolev Klein Harari launched “LowKey Tech.” “My business aims to help businesses in Cornwall bring technology into the businesses. I’ve always liked technology and have done a lot of coding for fun, so this might be a nice way to bring a professional edge to it,” Harari explained.

Abigail Rose created “Rose Arts & Design.” “Coming from an artistic family has influenced me greatly, making me want to be more creative. My mom is an artist, and she inspires me a lot and very much pushes me to do more creative things,” Rose shared.

Abdul Khan founded “Arks Cards,” while Pascale Wabo Nana established “Pasrel Clean Services.” In addition, Nicolle Delgado initiated “CultiveAide,” and Fajr Shamshad Gondal introduced “Basketeria.” These young entrepreneurs gained valuable business knowledge from the program.

MP Eric Duncan praised the program, stating, “This is a great long-standing program I’ve attended going back to being a mayor. It’s a great program that teaches young people entrepreneur skills, small business skills, accounting, marketing, and how to run a business. From this program, it’s been neat to see the number of young people who have gone on to keep the businesses. This is a good incubator to get some new small businesses in our community started.”

MPP Nolan Quinn echoed these sentiments: “I’m a business owner, so getting young people interested in running a business is important. We’re seeing their creativity and vision and their businesses. It’s exciting, and I wish I had known about this program when I was younger because I think it would have allowed me to be more successful in my business starting at a younger age. We need more entrepreneurs; it benefits the economy and makes a difference.”

Sydney Smith, Programs Administrator at the Cornwall SDG Business Enterprise Centre, remarked, “We’re all gathered today at the Civic Complex for the launch of the Summer Company program. We have five here today and seven in total. With our official launch, each has a table to advertise their business.” Through this program, students get to be their own boss and experience firsthand what it takes to run a business.

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