5 Reasons Why Students Should Start A Business through Summer Company
Written by Zac Rendell, Intern Extraordinaire
Summer Company is a program which provides students with the opportunity to start and run their own business over the summer. I had the opportunity to work as the program assistant in the summer of 2014. After working alongside 34 students to see their business succeed, I’ve compiled the top 5 reasons why students should start a business through Summer Company and NOT wait until they are done school.
1. Money, money, money
Summer Company participants receive $1,500 in startup funds and $1,500 when they complete the program. This is money they do NOT have to pay back! You can also make a whopping amount through your own business. The record net amount so far for a student is $50,284.00.
Something more valuable than the money you make over the summer is the mentorship you receive. Throughout the Summer Company program, you will meet with local industry leading experts. These local pro’s volunteer their time to help students in the program. They provide coaching and guidance that will help you succeed in your business. This is an opportunity that many entrepreneurs and business owners wish they could have and pay money to get. Summer Company participants get that opportunity for free.
Along with valuable mentorship, students are provided with business training through the Waterloo Region Small Business Centre. These sessions can often be too expensive for the typical entrepreneur. However, as a Summer Company participant, you can attend these sessions for free. These sessions include topics such as marketing, social media, finance management, market research and much more.
4. Safety Net
Scene from Divergent
One of the biggest obstacles for entrepreneurs is fear. Some are afraid to lose money and others are afraid of failure. This is why students should start a business through Summer Company; you have a safety net. For example, maybe you make only a few sales or maybe you find out you don’t like running your own business. If you complete the program and decide you do not want to be an entrepreneur or your business wasn’t as successful as you would have liked, the worst case scenario is you get valuable business training, skills, and experience, a network of contacts, and $3,000. Not so bad. But now, imagine waiting to finish school to start your business. This is a risky first career move. You have to invest money and time into something you may have no experience in. You have to hope that your idea is a good one and that you know what you’re doing. Not to mention the pressure of being out of school and needing to make money as well.
5. Create a Sustainable Business
Once you have ran your business over the summer, you can continue running it as long as you want. Many students have continued their landscaping, retail, fitness, etc. businesses for years after Summer Company. Let me give you a real example of a student creating a sustainable business. One participant ran a landscaping business over the summer. He saved up enough money to put a plow on his truck. He used the truck to shovel snow. He continued this business and earned enough money to pay for his post-secondary schooling. Another example is Vidyard. This company started off ten years ago in Summer Company and it is now a multimillion dollar corporation. Even if the business is making t-shirts, the company gets started over the summer and can continue part-time while the student is in school.
These are just five reasons to start a business while you are in school. There are many more. If you are interested in applying for Summer Company, you can begin the application here. If you have any questions, please contact Rob Clement at Waterloo Region Small Business Centre at 519.741.2604 ext. 7986.
If you are not a student but still would like to start a business, there are many opportunities for you to do that. Come talk to us at the Centre or give us a call at 519.741.2604.