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History of Summer Company in Waterloo Region

History of Summer Company in Waterloo Region


In 2001 the Province of Ontario introduced the Summer Company program. The goal of this program was to give students (age 15 – 29) the chance to experience running a business over the summer. In the first year 198 students participated across the province: six from Waterloo Region.


The program has grown. In 2015 there were 33 participants in Waterloo Region and 865 province-wide. Over the 15 years that Waterloo Region Small Business Centre has administered the Summer Company program, a total of 286 students successfully complete the program.


Since taking on the role of Program Coordinator in 2002, I have personally seen over 250 students successfully complete the program.  Some students have tremendous success with their business and continue running it; eventually evolving it into a full time career. Others enjoy financial success and use the money to help pay for school or fulfil other dreams. There have been participants that have used the experience gathered in the program to enter other business accelerator program—eventually taking their dreams to the next level. Some students get bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and go on to start other businesses. There are also some who realize that entrepreneurship is not for them but use the tools and lessons learned to enhance their lives and resumes.



Past Participants


Ian Lochbihler, of Waterloo Networks, started Waterloo Networks in his dorm room in 2002 and has continued running the business full time since. Ian continues to participate in the program in a mentor role.


Michael Litt used his experience of operating Redwoods Media in 2010 to then apply to Y-Combinator (a business accelerator program in California). Michael and his co-founder would eventually Vidyard – which now employs over 80 people and is the world’s leading video marketing platform.


High school student Matthew Jessop earned over $20,000 in revenue with his summer property maintenance business The Lawn Ranger in 2015! Currently at his first year of university, Matthew intends to expand operations this summer.


Roxanne Rabalais ran web design company, Purple Pony Productions in 2007 with mixed results. After university the lessons learned that summer allowed her to open Roxanne Rabalais Design & Branding and in 2013 Roxanne launched clothing company Spiced Equestrian!


James Hobson made and sold handmade items made out of chainmail as The Chainmail Kid in the summer of 2005. James credits his Summer Company experience to opening his eyes to the possibilities of entrepreneurship and has since gone on to create Hacksmith Industries! James is current garnering world-wide attention for his development of this exoskeleton!



Join the Program


Participants in the program receive funding (up to $3,000), training and mentoring. They first have to come up with a business idea that they can run over the summer. After the business idea is created, students must submit a business plan outlining how the business will operate over the summer –this is the basis of being accepted into the program.


Once the online application is finalized, students are interviewed and coached prior to launching their businesses. Once 

accepted into the program, all participants will operate their businesses over their summer break on a full time basis. To guide them along the way, students attend bi-weekly mentoring sessions and are given training opportunities.


The deadline for applications is May 6th, 2016 but submissions can be approved upon submission.



If you meet the program criteria, or know someone who does, visit us at www.waterlooregionsmallbusiness.ca/summercompany or contact me direct rob.clement@kitchener.ca or 519-741-2200 ext. 7986

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PR Consulting: an Interview by Zac Rendell

PR Consulting: an Interview by Zac Rendell


Created by Zac Rendell


Late last week, our former co-op student extraordinaire, Zac Rendell, decided to interview WRSBC's Program Assistant, Mistie Brown. The interview was an assignment for his Public Relations Degree Program at Conestoga College (Mistie is an inaugural graduate of this program). He touches on the PR profession, being a consultant/small business, and following your passion. Check it out! 



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Presenting from the Dungeon Part 2

Presenting from the Dungeon Part 2


Written by Rob Clement, 2015


(Freaks and Geeks Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Master, source: http://www.rpgbooster.com/)

Almost all people have some anxiety about speaking in public. The experience can range from the fluttering butterfly feeling to outright terror that threatens to have you soil your britches. Like everything else you will get better with practice and experience and eventually you will be able to handle the experience and maybe even like it. The question is how to get the experience without the potential laundry problem. In this 3 part series I would like to offer some observations on how role playing games (especially acting as Dungeon Master) can help develop presentations skills.


Running the Adventure

Running an adventure forces the Dungeon Master (DM) into many roles, much like a good presenter. It is not enough to simply build the world and design the interactions with the characters of the world; you must bring them to life! The tone of the adventure, the personality of the players, and the time available for play all effect how an adventure is presented. A presentation can be effected by the seriousness of the subject matter, the personality or demographic make-up of the audience, and the time available for both the presentation and interactions afterwards.


In a fantasy world adventures can take on many different tones. In any given session the group could be out on a serious mission to save the realm, spending a fun evening at a local tavern, impressing royalty at a tournament or quietly breaking into the royal treasury. It is paramount for the DM to understand the tone of the adventure and change the mood of the story accordingly in order to enrich the experience for the players. After all if the adventurers are out to avenge the death of Grigonish, the Gnome Illusionist, it might not be the best time to introduce them to Rolly the town drunk and palace fool. During a presentation you also have to be aware of the tone of the material or event. Some presentations are intended to be light hearted and make the audience laugh, some are meant to inspire and be tale of overcoming personal trials, and others are just about facts. Understanding the nature of the subject matter can allow a good presenter to change the tone of the presentation to match the information they want to convey. Most experienced Dungeon Masters have had to modify their delivery to reflect a change in the mood of an adventure, frequently multiple time in the same session (the scenes below are from three consecutive chapters in the Fellowship of the Ring):

  • Ruckus tavern scene (the Inn of the Prancing Pony in Bree)
  • A mysterious encounter (meeting Strider in  the room above the inn)
  • Fast-paced action (the fight scene on top of Weathertop Mountain where Frodo is stabbed).

This is very similar to a presentation given to students to explain an entrepreneur experience program. The present might be expected to convey:

  • The seriousness of the competitive application process (have to submit a business plan)
  • How cool getting grant money from the government is ($3,000 is a lot to students)
  • That it is absolutely the coolest thing for young person still in school to run their own business! (this one stands alone but for continuity sake I included the bracket statement)

(Community, source: http://www.hitfix.com)


The personality of the people in the room can have a huge effect on Dungeon Master and Presenter alike. Dungeon Masters are charged with creating a rich and interactive world where player characters interact with non-player characters (NPCs), each with their own personality and agendas. NPCs are brought to life by the Dungeon Master and each encounter must be allowed to evolve based on the personality of the group and the reactions (and actions) of each character within that group.  Dwarves, for example, have a general distrust of elves and a great love of ale and food, so a dwarf NPC would likely ignore or be rude to an elven wizard offering berries while responding favourably to the human warrior offering a pint of ale. Even within the players there are personality differences, some enjoy the role playing while others want to get on with the fighting. It is vital the DM is able to assess the group quickly to optimize the fun for all. Likewise it is important for presenters to understand the dynamics of the audience quickly. It is one thing to change voices and ambience as the presentation warrants but misreading an audience can be fatal to even the best presentations. Imagine making a presentation to promote a celebration event to group of children, teenagers, business professionals or city council. Each has its own level of understanding, word usage, and examples would have to change. An overly happy/silly tone you would use to excite the children would be replaced by a more reserved tone as you talked about civic pride to the politicians. Within those groups are individuals with their own interests and things that excite them and it is important to style your delivery to appeal to them as well, the ultimate goal is for the presentation to reach everyone in some way.


Finally the time available affects everything. An adventure can take place over a few hours or over several weeks of play time. A short adventure may involve a single location with a lot of role playing (tavern or village market), or a “hack and slash” adventure in a small dungeon. Other adventures (called campaigns) develop over weeks, months and in some cases years. These develop a richer, more complete life feel as the characters grow and evolve, and as the DMs understand the players and their personalities more. Players will start to develop goals and dreams for their characters and these will begin to shape other adventures as the campaign continues. It is important for a good DM to understand how to deliver both types of adventures.  A presentation might be a very quick ten minutes that your audience is fitting into a larger meeting of their own or it might be part of a workshop series designed to last several weeks. A short presentation will be fact based and designed to get the information out, no messing around. Time is of the essence and going over time could lead to the audience not getting all the information or feeling like they were rushed. There isn’t much time to go in depth so you may want to hand out cheat sheets or follow up materials and definitely provide an easy way for them to follow up. The longer the presentation the more opportunity there is for the presenter to grow with their audience and discover what works with the group and the individuals. There is time to cover information in more detail, examples can be used to reinforce ideas and there might even be time for hands on experimentation. Working with the group will become more intuitive and everyone will benefit. It is vital for a presenter to be able to deliver presentations of all lengths and also to be able to adjust a presentation to account for unexpected timing changes.


During my time roleplaying I have been a Dungeon Master for several groups over long periods of time, participated as a DM in several tournaments where I had to present a similar adventure to several very different groups in a set time and run mini games for small groups and individual adventurers. Understanding the circumstances of the adventure I was about to lead helped increase the enjoyment for everyone and helped me build a skill set to present to a variety of people and settings. As a presenter today, like my days as a Dungeon Master, I am not always successful in achieving all the things I have talked about. In Part 3 of Presenting from the Dungeon I will look at what to do when it goes wrong and improving the future.

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re-post: It’s easier than ever before to start your own business

It’s easier than ever before to start your own business


This article was written by Rick Spence,
published on March 13, 2015 for the Financial Post

View the original article here


After being laid off from his management job in 1990, Bill started a consulting business. First thing he did was stock up on the latest technology: a $3,000 personal computer setup with a 128-Mb hard drive, snazzy VGA monitor and dot-matrix printer. His fax machine was a good deal at $1,000. He also invested $200 in a fax modem, but he never got it to work.


Bill spent $100 on professionally printed business cards, and produced a trifold brochure for $900. He got a bargain on office space, subleasing in a friend’s advertising agency for just $300 a month so he would have a place to go every day to work undisturbed. After all, he had spent just $3,000 on newspaper ads. Finally, he paid $1,000 to join a club so he would have a constant source of prospects and a place to meet clients downtown.


Bill really wanted to invest another $2,000 in a car phone. But at this point in his startup shopping spree, he knew he’d better bring in some revenue first. With a new baby on the way, cash was tight, and the monthly Pampers bills were yet to come.


This year, Bill’s 24-year-old daughter Lisa started an importing business from her room in a condo she rents with friends. Her fifth-generation MacBook Air cost $1,500; her printer, just $29.95. She paid $6 for a logo on Fiverr, and shells out $1.99 a month for her website. Her downtown office is a Starbucks.


Lisa’s $60 a month phone bill compares with what Bill used to pay for a one-hour call to Halifax. But Lisa doesn’t know what long-distance fees are. All of her files are in a cloud somewhere, accessed by a phone that contains more processing power than NASA had when she was born.


Bill offered his daughter some startup funds, but she turned him down. She arranged an $18,000 loan from the not-for-profit agency Futurpreneur, although she didn’t really need it. What she really wanted was its two-year mentoring program, which matches her up with an experienced entrepreneur in a related field. For free.


I know, right?


Lately I’ve been meeting a lot of young entrepreneurs at numerous events, and their confidence is unbounded. To them, business is a part of their lives. It’s not what they do from 9 to 5, or to put bread on the table, but an essential expression of who they are and how they create value for the planet. At one recent conference for university entrepreneurs, I met a 10th-grader who smuggled himself in. He wanted to learn all he could as fast as he could, because he’s about to launch his own catering business.


The contrasting fictional startups of Lisa and her dad reveal why today’s young entrepreneurs are so plugged in and ready to go. A generation ago, entrepreneurship was an alternative lifestyle for people who just didn’t fit into the corporate model, conducted with clunky tools. Virtually all the trends of the past 25 years — from education and technology to deregulation and globalization — have led to this future, where confident, empowered individuals can make their mark without the security blanket of an employer.


Today’s always-on world, reinventing itself every few years is a blank slate for young people to design their own futures, whether they’re into apps, ecommerce, import and export, fitness, health and medicine, marketing, food, travel, social innovation, or a million other niches where consumers’ preferences are changing as fast as the technology they use.


A while back someone tried to call the latest youth cohort “Generation E,” for entrepreneur. It didn’t stick. The truth is, entrepreneurship is no longer a trend or accessory. It is a way of thinking and doing — innovation plus action — in all aspects of daily life. When 46% of Canadian post-secondary students can see themselves running their own businesses, as demonstrated in a 2013 survey, you know entrepreneurship has become part of the culture.


And it’s just in time. The shifting trends described above have robbed big corporations and institutions of certainty and control, which is why traditional employers can no longer create enough jobs. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor notes that since the early 1990s, “the capacity of the world economy to create jobs has been steadily declining.” In disrupted markets it is the entrepreneurs, armed with powerful tools, specific market knowledge and the willingness to bet on their own convictions, who have the best chance to survive and thrive.


For years I despaired of our schools’ inability to teach entrepreneurship, and the failure of government to provide better support systems. But reality has overtaken these floundering institutions. The Internet brought the entrepreneurial economy into everyone’s bedroom. When people see people just like them raising thousands of dollars for new projects on Kickstarter, they don’t need their teacher telling them this is important.


But it’s not just about youth. The trends that propel entrepreneurship have huge impact on established businesses and older entrepreneurs (anyone over 30). The new kids on the block want to do business with you. And they can help. They know their niche. Their Google world compels them to create real value and provide dependable service; they know reputations today can be shredded in an instant.


But they also want to compete with you. Be afraid: their 7/24 commitment means you may have to raise your game. But that’s a good thing. Healthy competition makes everyone better.


View the article written by Rick Spence published on March 13, 2015

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Starting a landscaping or snow removal business? Think customer service.

Starting a landscaping or snow removal business? Think customer service.


Written By Jennifer Penney


One of the keys to your landscaping or snow removal business is customer service. Satisfied customers will be loyal customers and will be willing to refer your business to their families and acquaintances. You are dealing with people's property into which they have invested money and time, so it is important to treat it with care and respect. A large part of your business is dealing with clients — one on one and in a personal manner. Keeping up relationships is a key part of maintaining and growing your business.

Find ways of marketing your business

To generate new customer leads, start by promoting your business in an area where you would prefer to work. Trying to get as many people in one specific area can save on fuel and time. You could try advertising in the local newspapers, dropping flyers or business cards off in mailboxes or speaking to the home owners personally in your selected neighbourhood. Social media could also be a great way to spread the word about your business.

Try also targeting clients who may be looking for your services such as:

• Family and friends

• Businesses

• Frequent or long term travellers
• People who can no longer maintain their lawns or driveways
• Provincial, territorial and municipal governments that may require grounds maintenance


Make sure you are able to provide estimates, competitive prices and clear and detailed contracts. Once the contract is in place, do keep in touch with your clients to make sure they continue to be satisfied with your service.

Customers are your number one asset and help keep your business successful so ensure they remain at the top of your priority list. Word of mouth referrals equal free advertising for your business, so be sure your customers are happy!

Find out more about starting a landscaping or snow removal business.


This blog is provided by the Canada Business Network – government services for entrepreneurs.

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Is Incorporation Right for You?

Is Incorporation Right for You?


Written by Noah C. Jensen CPA, CA

*This article is for general information purposes only. Each individual and corporation’s needs are different and you should consult your Chartered Accountant and/or lawyer before acting on any of the information disseminated in this post.

One of the first questions that someone contemplating starting a business asks me is: “is it worth it to incorporate?” The answer, as with all tax and accounting questions, is “it depends”. I will explain the advantages of incorporating from the perspective of a Canadian Controlled Private Corporation and why you may consider not incorporating.

Division of income

If your cash needs require you to take money out of the business to pay your personal expenses, you will have income from either wages or dividends coming out of your company.

If your spouse’s income is less than yours, and you structure the share capital of the corporation appropriately, you can assign your spouse a reasonable wage for any services they perform on behalf of your company or issue your spouse dividends to split income.

An optimal couple’s tax rate is the same for both individuals. When this happens, your income and income tax is the same. Splitting the dividends between the spouse’s tax returns achieves this goal.


Deferral of tax

If you plan on reinvesting your earnings into your company to purchase property and equipment, inventory or other working capital, incorporation will benefit you. This is because the tax rate for a Canadian Controlled Private Corporation is only 15.5% assuming that you are eligible for the small business deduction and your taxable income is below $500,000/year.

Therefore, assuming you have positive earnings and cash flow from your business, you are able to reinvest in your business assets quicker vis-à-vis incorporation because you won’t be paying as much in taxes as you would as a sole proprietor assuming your net earnings are taxed at a rate higher than 15.5% (i.e. your business income on your return exceeds approximately $10,000).


Limit of legal liability

The corporation is a separate person from you. Any trouble the corporation may get into, such as an employee launching a lawsuit or a customer/supplier suing you, will be limited to the assets of your corporation. The plaintiff will generally not have access to your personal assets.


Exit strategy

The sale of a business that is a corporation is generally easier to sell than a sole proprietorship. It is rare for proprietorships to be sold, as this exit strategy is more popularly done by a corporation.
The advantage to selling shares of a Qualified Small Business Corporation (“QSBC”) is that you are eligible for the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption (“LCGE”) of $750,000 ($800,000 in 2014). Moreover, this applies to each shareholder, so if your spouse owns shares their share of the capital gain will be eligible for the LCGE as well doubling the exempt amount. Meeting the QSBC tests is worth its own article (I will endeavour to post one soon).

Compliance costs

The downside to incorporation is the cost. Cost of incorporation from a legal perspective will range from $1,000-$2,000 (one-time fee) on start-up depending on where you are located in Canada, the complexity of the structure and how unprepared you are going into the lawyer’s office. Ask your lawyer if they would consider a payment plan if you are using bootstrap financing.

Accounting fees are based on the amount of time that it takes to complete the various government filings you will be required to complete. Generally speaking, there are more filings and more work that is required than a proprietorship. Consult your accountant who will be able to ascertain the amount of time required to prepare your corporate financial statements and tax return. If you currently use a bookkeeper for a proprietorship, I recommend getting a professionally designated accountant to prepare your financial statements and corporate tax return as they generally have E&O insurance and will be more familiar with the complexities.


Oftentimes, a good accountant can save you as much or more than your fee so don’t cheap out!



All things considered, incorporation would not be valuable to you if you plan on drawing all or more of your net earnings for the year, do not need to split income because your spouse already makes considerably more than you, have no plans to sell or otherwise succeed your business to another party (children, purchaser). I find these attributes most common in “side businesses”. Speak with your accountant and/or lawyer to ensure you are making the right decision.


Contact information

Noah C. Jensen CPA, CA
Szczepski, Racolta, Jensen & Co. LLP

485 Pinebush Road, Suite 304, Cambridge, Ontario
519-622-1485 ext. 111

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Writing an Executive Summary

Writing an Executive Summary

Written By Chris Farrell

An important part of starting or expanding a business is drafting a solid business plan. Each aspect of this plan is crucial in not only charting the projected path of the business, but how it is perceived by the public, especially investors or lenders.

While each section of your plan is important, the executive summary is considered the most essential, as it gives a brief synopsis of where the company is headed and the well-researched reasons it will be successful. As the first page of your plan, the executive summary carries a great deal of importance and should grab the reader’s attention immediately.

For the best results, your executive summary should be written after the rest of your business plan has been refined. This allows you to support your summary with fresh examples and an informed perspective.


The Purpose of the Executive Summary

If you want your business plan to be read, you have to make the executive summary stand out. Keep in mind that investors, managers and lenders are being pulled in many different directions throughout the day, and an uninspiring executive summary won’t compel them to read your plan.

A good executive summary is meant to give the reader an idea of what to expect throughout the plan. To sum it up, the executive summary is the first page to be seen and will influence whether or not the viewer will keep reading.


What to Include in the Executive Summary

Regardless of whether you’re opening your first business or expanding your existing one, you are attempting to convince investors or lenders to give you money. In return for that money, you have to make a compelling case for your venture’s ability to be successful.

There are certain key factors they will want to know before they even entertain the rest of your business plan. The executive summary should include the following information:

1. A mission statement: Simply state what your business is all about, and remember to keep it short and sweet.

2. Company background: This can include a brief history of those in the business, their roles, location, your projected number of employees and even when the company was formed. If your business hasn’t started yet, focus on the skills and history that you and your business partners bring to the table.

3. Projected growth with specific targets: Provide examples of how your company grew or how you project it to grow with extensive market analysis.

4. What you offer for the business: Briefly describe what you do, product you provide or services you deliver.

5. Existing funding: Discuss current investors, sponsors and other financial information.

6. Future plans: Investors want to know what your future goals and plans entail. If you don’t have any, why should they put their money into your business with no real future goals of increasing their investments?

7. Be convincing: You’ve done the research and have the passion for this new idea or growth possibility, so let others see your confidence in the executive summary.


The Finishing Touches

Executive summaries can vary in length, but ideally you should be able to tell your story in two pages or less. Keep in mind that it is a summary, a teaser to get the reader interested in continuing their evaluation and subsequently requesting a meeting with you.

Above all, your summary should be a clear and concise explanation of what your company does. It should be simple to understand, but not too unsophisticated as to make investors think that you’re incapable of running a business. Remember to make it descriptive, to use evidence from your research and projections, and to keep it as short as you can. Follow these steps, and you’ll be on your way to writing an informative and effective executive summary.

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AODA Training for Small Business

AODA Training for Small Business


Are you a small business owner with at least 1 employee?

Do you operate a private or not-for –profit with 20 or more employees?

Do you want to learn more about your responsibilities under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act?


Wednesday March 11   2:00 – 4.00 pm

Waterloo City Centre

Standards that provide accessibility for people with disabilities are now law in Ontario. As an owner of a business in Ontario with at least 1 employee, you need to meet certain requirements under Ontario's accessibility standards. If you run a private or not-for profit business with 20 or more employees, you also need to file a simple 2014 compliance report with the Ontario government confirming you meet these requirements. An easy step by step guide to filing your report is available on the provincial website. You could face fines if you are not compliant.

Ontario's five accessibility standards cover:
• Customer service
• Employment
• Information and communications
• Transportation
• Design of public spaces

The customer service standards that you need to meet include creating an accessibility policy for employees and customers, welcoming service animals, and training your employees to serve customers with disabilities.

Some of your requirements for employment standards depend on how many employees you have. For example, a business with more than 50 employees creating a new public website or significantly updating an existing public website must make it accessible. Other requirements, such as providing individualized information for handling workplace emergencies to employees with disabilities, will apply no matter how big or small your business is.

You can use the free online guides, tools and templates on the AccessON website to learn about the requirements. Start with the Accessibility Compliance Wizard to get a personalized list of all the accessibility requirements and deadlines that apply specifically to your business.

Compliance deadlines are being phased in over several years to give your business time to make accessibility part of your business plan. For businesses of all sizes, it began in 2012 with the customer service standard; new requirements will continue to roll out until 2021. Why not make a habit of checking in at the AccessON website and stay informed on the changes that apply to you?


Register on line: www.waterlooregionsmallbusiness.ca for a free information seminar 


This blog is provided by the Canada Business Network – government services for entrepreneurs.

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5 Reasons Why Students Should Start A Business through Summer Company

5 Reasons Why Students Should Start A Business through Summer Company


Written by Zac Rendell, Intern Extraordinaire

February, 2015 

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.


2. Mentorship




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.


3. Training




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.




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Access to Professionals

Access to Professionals

Written by Jennifer Penney
January, 2015


Have you heard about our Access to Professionals Program?
Through our Access to Professionals Program, entrepreneurs can meet for a complimentary 40 minute one-on-one consultation with an accounting or legal professional for example. To be referred to the Access to Professionals program, individuals must first meet with a Small Business Advisor. 


Do your homework before seeking advice.
As an entrepreneur or a business owner, being well-informed about your business, your industry and your target market is very important. However, you may be tempted to overlook doing your own research in favour of asking for professional help. Though this route may seem easier, doing your own research beforehand could save you time and money. Your research may also allow you to ask specific questions, rather than vague ones.

Online research
The Internet offers you easy (and often free) access to countless online sources, from training resources such as templates and webinars or videos on topics such as bookkeeping, web development, commercial leases, and much more.

In-person research

Do you have friends and family members who are entrepreneurs? Have you visited a Small Business Centre? You may want to consult with them, as well as industry professionals — they might be suppliers, acquaintances from networking events or peers from trade associations. These people are well-informed about various aspects of small business, so you may be able to glean valuable business information from them for free, and their opinions might help clear things up for you.

When and how to consult with professionals
Here are some tips to consider prior to and upon meeting with professionals like IT specialists, bankers, accountants and lawyers:

• Learn key words, acronyms, phrases and basic concepts. By researching and becoming familiar with important words and phrases, you will be more prepared for meetings. This can save time and money and enrich the experience. However, during your meeting, if you hear something that you don't understand, be sure to ask for clarification.

• Be critical. You are paying for professional services, so a bit of background will be a good investment. If you aren't pleased with the suggestions you receive, or feel you don't require certain products or services, listen to your instincts. Your research will help you respect the balance between outside expertise and doing what's best for your business.

• Prioritize. Clearly define your areas of concern and organize them by level of urgency. For example, if you're looking for ways to cut back your expenses and you're having issues with your computer, meeting with an IT specialist before meeting with an accountant may be a wise choice.


This blog is provided by the Canada Business Network – government services for entrepreneurs. 


Did you know that the Access to Professionals program is now offered in Cambridge as well as KW? For more information about the Program or to book an appointment with one of our Small Business Advisors, please contact your local Small Business Centre.

Cambridge: 519-740-4615         Kitchener: 519-741-2604           Waterloo: 519-747-6265

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Brianna Theurer
April 13, 2018
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