Young entrepreneurs: access funding, mentorship through Summer Company program

The Summer Company program through Kingston Economic Development Corporation aims to help students aged 15 to 29 hit the ground running on new business concepts through training, mentorship, and funding. Photo by Austin Distel.

Applications are again being accepted for Kingston Economic Development (Kingston EcDev)’s Summer Company. The program is specially designed to provide students aged 15 to 29 an opportunity to start and run their own businesses.

According to a release from Kingston EcDev, the program provides successful applicants with up to $3,000 in funding and hands-on business training and mentoring from local business leaders to help turn their entrepreneurial aspirations into a reality. Applications for the Summer Company program are now open and will close on Monday, May 15, 2023.

“The Summer Company program is a fantastic opportunity for students to gain practical experience in entrepreneurship and build valuable skills that will benefit them in their future careers,” said Meg Hewitt, Summer Company Program Coordinator for Kingston EcDev. “We are proud to support the next generation of business leaders and help them achieve their goals.”

According to the release, throughout the summer, participants will receive coaching and training from experienced business mentors (including business bootcamp instructor Claire Bouvier), participate in meetings with local business leaders, and complete all program requirements for establishing and operating their business. By the end of the program, Kingston EcDev said, the participants will have gained valuable experience and developed a range of practical skills that will serve them well in their future careers.

“Launching a business can be very exciting and empowering while also being at times overwhelming with the uncertainty that comes with the new experiences. However, doing a program like Summer Company, where you have a whole network of support to help guide you through the process. As a part of the program, there is also a shared energy as you share the journey of launching a business with other entrepreneurs around you,” said Ben Tripp, Founder of HulFlo and Summer Company 2022 Participant.

“In the summer of 2022, I launched HulFlo, a system to dry out the inside of watercraft to increase the lifespan of the boat and maintain performance,” Tripp continued. “During the summer, I was focused on the development of the product and received mentorship to help improve the marketing of my product. After years of planning, it was extremely rewarding to finally bring the company and product to life. Moving forward, after taking the winter to finish building a new CNC machine, I am excited to soon be officially launching the HulFlo store.”

Kingston EcDev is hosting a virtual information session on Tuesday, Mar. 21, and an in-person information session on Tuesday, Apr. 11, 2023, to support students with the application process as well as any questions they might have.

Interested students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. For more information on how to apply and to register for the information sessions, visit investkingston.ca/summercompany.

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