Alex Svarc — Pure Longboards


Alex Svarc with Pure Longboards in Hamilton

No more boring boards

Summer Company gave Alex Svarc the opportunity to turn his passion for skateboarding into a successful summer business. Pure Longboards is a custom longboard company that gives skaters the opportunity to design their own boards for a competitive price. Alex gives his customers the option of selecting the wood, length, shape and colour of their board. Customers can also add a design of their choice, making it their own. No board is the same.

He researched the proper steps, equipment, and materials needed to put together a custom longboard. When it comes to his boards, Alex is a perfectionist. His boards caught the attention of a skateboard shop owner in Paris, Ont., who reached out to Alex and purchased 12 boards for his store.

Alex gained various entrepreneurial skills after participating in Summer Company. He learned the importance of managing his time, networking, and staying organized. Alex has a creative eye, and work ethic like no other. The training and mentoring offered through Summer Company helped him learn key aspects of business, including marketing, bookkeeping, insurance, and the importance of having a viable contract. Over the summer, Alex learned that entrepreneurship is his ultimate career choice: doing something he loves, and getting paid for it. He plans to continue operating Pure Longboards for many years to come.

Andre Cordeiro — Dre’s Detailing


Andre Cordeiro with Dre’s Detailing in Cambridge

Taking detailing to the customer

Andre Cordeiro has a passion for automobiles, and it’s demonstrated by the success of his business, Dre’s Detailing. Using premium and natural cleaning and polishing products, Andre offered his customers the ultimate in convenience: detailing is done at the customer’s site.

The reviews on his Facebook page show how his dedication paid off in repeat business: “always consistent in his work”… “my Jeep is cleaner than the day I bought it”… “he’s passionate about what he does and treats your car like it’s his own.” Dre’s Detailing is rated on Google as one of the top automotive detailing businesses in Kitchener- Waterloo.

Andre learned many valuable lessons throughout the Summer Company program. He has built solid business skills, including sales and organizational strategies that help make the customer experience a great one. As a result, he posted almost $16,000 in sales.

Andre credits Summer Company and the mentors for his success last summer. “I wouldn’t have managed my business as successfully without the knowledge that Summer Company has equipped me with,” he says.

Anna Myles — Leads n’ Beads


Anna Myles with Leads n' Beads in Wiarton

Leading by example

Anna Myles has had a very successful season operating her summer business, with the help of the Summer Company program. Anna’s business was born when she began braiding paracord (lightweight nylon) to make lead ropes for her own horse. Encouragement from potential customers helped her turn the hobby into a business. Anna started to sell leads to other horse and dog owners, and soon expanded her product line. She now produces and sells handmade, highly durable leashes, collars, and lead ropes for horses and dogs – and even the occasional rabbit or cat.

Anna’s marketing strategy was simple: take her product to farmer’s markets, where customers are always looking for unique handmade products. The Leads n’ Beads display booth was eye-catching and fully stocked with various products. Anna used her time at the market to produce her goods onsite, when she was not talking to potential customers or making sales.

Anna says her Summer Company experience helped her appreciate how much behind the scenes effort goes into running a business. She valued the experience and sense of independence she gained by taking charge of her own business. Training and mentoring gave her new business ideas, and the grant money helped cover the expense for materials and equipment. Anna’s success this summer has convinced her to run her business throughout high school.

Anthony Go — Waffles Etc.

Richmond Hill

Anthony Go with Waffles Etc. in Richmond Hill

A vision that starts with waffles

Anthony Go is a 17-year-old with high functioning autism who is determined to overcome his personal challenges and learn how to run his own business.

Combining his creativity with his love for cooking, he did just that with his Summer Company creation, Waffles Etc. Offerings include inventive waffles, hot beverages and bottled cold drinks for anyone looking for a tasty treat.

This Summer Company experience was an invaluable opportunity that allowed Anthony to gain life skills and earn his own living in a hands-on and practical way. He developed various business skills such as marketing, customer service, bookkeeping, and cooking. The Summer Company program also helped Anthony fulfill his vision to inform the community about the potential of youth with special needs to contribute to society.

Anthony knows a lot of youth over 21 years old with developmental delay who need employment. Working with their job coaches, he plans to help them learn job skills in his business by hiring them as staff. Anthony’s business is unique, because it illuminates the complexity and achievements of the lives led by youth with special needs. It provides an outlet for talented youth, often perceived as incapable of contributing to society, to boldly create, raise awareness, and share their vision.

Anthony Infurna — Simple Life Lawn Care

Fort Erie

Anthony Infurna with Simple Life Lawn Care in Fort Erie

Pride in your work gets results

People take great pride in their landscaping, likely because they believe that their yard’s appearance reflects them. Anthony Infurna took pride in all of the work he did this summer for the many customers of Simple Life Lawn Care, and it paid off with repeat business. He achieved complete customer satisfaction on each job, by consistently delivering quality work, ensuring that each task was handled with focus and diligence.

Anthony’s Summer Company was built on the basic principle that hard work and dedication will result in maximum satisfaction for clients. Anthony’s goals were to run a profitable business, and to secure a minimum of 40 hours per week of work. Both of these objectives were accomplished. In addition to his full time work on landscaping sites, he worked overtime evenings and weekends, mowing lawns and managing the business. His hard work translated into growing sales as he exceeded his forecasted figures.

Anthony’s Summer Company experience taught him that hard work will get you where you want to be, and that there is opportunity in everything you set your mind to. Anthony is looking forward to integrating his studies in civil engineering with his entrepreneurial activities in the future. He plans to continue operating his profitable business to help finance his education.

Ben Jacobs — Travale


Ben Jacobs with Travale in Mississauga

Connecting with customers

Grade 12 student Ben Jacobs is already a business veteran, starting several businesses in lawn care and snow removal and selling motorized bikes he built.

It was while Ben was offering his lawn care and snow removal services that he realized the difficulty of marketing his services to his neighbours. He also discovered that his neighbours wanted to be able to book his services quickly and easily.

Through the Summer Company program, Ben started Travale, an online web app that connects homeowners with youths in their neighbourhood who offer services for hire, such as snow removal, lawn care, general cleaning, and dog walking.

Since Travale is a free web app for its users, Ben used the customer service and networking skills he developed in the Summer Company program to approach local businesses to advertise through his web application.

“Summer Company helped me network with other aspiring young entrepreneurs, and successful entrepreneurs such as the mentors,” he says. “These interactions helped me to figure out better ways to run my business, along with other ways to earn a profit.” Ben plans to continue running his business year round.

Cam Beckett — Creative Woodworks Co


Cam Beckett with Creative Woodworks Co. in Exeter

It all started with Popsicle sticks

Cam Beckett says he’s always wanted to build. When he was too young to use tools, he used Popsicle sticks and Lego to build anything and everything. At 10, Cam made a side table, and at 13, he built an Adirondack chair. Now, 16-year old Cam Beckett makes top-of-the-line reclaimed wood furniture through his Summer Company, Creative Woodworks Co.

Cam is a self-taught woodworker, watching hours of YouTube videos to learn quality woodworking techniques. He’s had his own tools for just over a year and has already experimented with creating wood cutting boards and serving trays, coasters, cooler stands, chairs, and reclaimed wood and iron tables and benches.

Cam heard about the Summer Company program from a teacher, and was intrigued with the idea of running his own business in a field he loves. With his Summer Company mentorship and business training, he has a head-start on finessing his business skills.

Cam’s knowledge in his field is inspiring.

He loves a challenge and is keen to try new designs. He says he enjoys it the most when clients give him custom projects, because it allows him to try new things. His goal is to continue running Creative Woodworks Co. throughout high school, and then work for a construction company to learn new things.

Camilla Brenchley — Camilla B. Photography and Brand Design


Camilla Brenchley with Camilla B. Photography and Brand Design in Guelph

Extending the brand

Camilla Brenchley’s passion for photography was the genesis for her Summer Company, but she quickly saw opportunities to expand her business. She started the company with a simple concept, doing family photo projects that included the usual wedding, prom and baby photo projects.

As she gained experience, she saw how powerful photography can be in enhancing a client’s brand and overall style. With Summer Company support, she’s now running a photography business that specializes in company branding and social media.

The fourth year business student at the University of Guelph seized on the opportunity to expand her own company’s brand, serving new B2B markets and attracting corporate customers.

“I use my skills in photography and staging to help organizations take their image to the next level,” says Camilla. “I love to help them to make their websites, Instagrams and other online platforms match their brand, and look beautiful and consistent.” Camilla offers her corporate customers basic and styled product shots, portrait products, and creative head shots.

Her growing list of clients includes Fresh Market, BaoLyfe, and Blushshop, all happy to see their visual imagery reflecting their own unique brands in their online presence.

Chloe Leguard — Cobourg Escape Room


Chloe Leguard with Cobourg Escape Room in Cobourg

Escapism can be very profitable

What’s an “escape room”? Escape rooms provide a fun, team-oriented activity that can be enjoyed by families, friends, or professional groups. Skill-testing puzzles challenge and entertain visitors, and activities can include defusing a “bomb”, escaping the room, and many other challenges.

Chloe Leguard is an ambitious Grade 11 student who saw a gap in the local entertainment market, and filled it with the Cobourg Escape Room. Chloe created three escape rooms in an empty store in Northumberland Mall, offering mysteries at three levels. The experience includes clues, closed circuit TV video camera hints, and a race against the clock to escape within an hour.

Chloe’s instincts were correct: sales are almost double what she estimated, and she’s had offers to purchase her business. She wasn’t expecting such early success. “I really didn’t think it would become this successful this fast,” she says. “I’ve had calls from Toronto – over an hour away – from people wanting to come to Cobourg, specifically for my business.”

Chloe has a strong online presence, including online booking method and an Instagram “camera” to snap your picture when you ‘escape’ the room.

Chloe’s strong business sense matches her creative side. She follows a solid business plan, stemming from research that she started in early January, 2017. Chloe is keeping the business open after the summer months, and plans to feature holiday-themed rooms.

Chrissy Colizza — Competitive Edge Elite Girls Hockey


Chrissy Colizza with Competitive Edge Elite Girls Hockey in Prescott-Russell

Putting training experience to work

Chrissy Colizza is a competitive hockey player with a bright future in the sport.

She also saw the business potential in sharing her already substantial experience with other hockey players. A veteran of many rigorous training sessions, Chrissy put her training experience to work with her own Summer Company. She developed Competitive Edge Elite Girls Hockey, a training program designed specifically for young female athletes who want to pursue their dreams of becoming professional hockey players.

Her own experience with tough and productive training has paid off in her own impressive career stats. She decided to share her passion with her peers last summer by turning it into a business. Summer Company helped her purchase the equipment she needed to start her business as a trainer, and also gave her the business coaching she needed for success. This play-maker not only works strategically on the ice, but is a top performer in the business world as well.

Cole Martin — COLE (Creative Outdoor Living Escapes)


Cole Martin with COLE (Creative Outdoor Living Escapes) in Elmira

Creating unique spaces

Like many successful entrepreneurs, landscape and design student Cole Martin built a company based around his passion and interests. His company, C.O.L.E. (Creative Outdoor Living Escapes) creates special and unique spaces where people can unplug and enjoy. All designs are drawn by hand for clients to envision their new space prior to building. The design and build landscape company creates those spaces using softscapes, hardscapes, ponds, re- grading and carpentry.

“I believe I can help with the growing epidemic of ‘nature deprivation’ by using my designs and building a unique space where we can escape and connect with the outdoors again,” says Cole.

Cole entered the Summer Company program hoping to gain business skills, and he succeeded. He says the mentor and training sessions were especially helpful. As a result of the program, Cole had more than a dozen consecutive projects running throughout the summer.

“It was a very helpful experience,” he says, “and I will be continuing to grow and expand my business next year.”

Dylan Griggs — DG Automotive Detailing

Wasaga Beach

Dylan Griggs with DG Automotive Detailing in Wasaga Beach

The profit’s in the details

Summertime visitors to Wasaga Beach soon notice more than the sun and sand. The area is a perfect staging ground for sparkling new (and restored) cars of all shapes and sizes, cruising the local roads at slow speeds. Proud car owners are picky about their car’s appearance, but they’re not always willing to put in the time cleaning and polishing their prized possessions.

Enter Dylan Griggs, who saw a need for a local auto detailing company, and filled it with a successful Summer Company.

Dylan founded DG Automotive Detailing, and watched a steady parade of vehicles pull into his shop in Wasaga Beach over the course of the summer.

People who love their cars can be demanding customers, and Dylan delivered. He credits much of his success to the high volume of repeat patrons eager for his top quality detailing. Dylan improved his time management skills when it came to estimating the amount of time a job would take, and enjoyed interacting with and wowing his clients.

Dylan knew that his chances for success would increase with Summer Company.

“I thought it was the best option for me,” he says. “It gives me a little bit more business knowledge, and they are great mentors,” he said.

Dylan is using the profits from his business to help pay for his tuition in the automotive program at Georgian College. He’s also continuing to run his business while in school, and researching expansion to a new location in Toronto.

Greg McDonald — GM Yard Service


Greg McDonald with GM Yard Service in Blyth

A serial entrepreneur gets started

Whether it’s landscaping, fixing broken TVs, or reselling X-Boxes, 16-year-old Greg McDonald always sees the potential to add value. He’s a business man at his core, and his first business, a Summer Company called GM Yard Service, will likely be the first of many.

When Greg heard about Summer Company, he knew it was for him. “I’ve always wanted to work for myself,” he says, “so when the opportunity came up to run my lawn service business, I applied.”

Greg provides landscaping and gardening services to the residents of Blyth, including grass cutting, hedge trimming, weeding, gardening, and anything else his customers need. Greg loves being outdoors, but warns other lawn service entrepreneurs about dangers on the job. “Always carry bug spray, and get stinger-proof gloves,” he says.

Lawn maintenance is just the beginning of Greg’s big picture strategy. His plan is to attend Fanshawe College’s Business Management and Entrepreneurship program after high school. In the meantime, he is taking all the high school courses he can in business, psychology, sociology, and anthropology. He also hopes to apprentice at a liquidation store to get more experience.

Haman Mamdouhi — Health-Bridge


Haman Mamdouhi with Health-Bridge in Toronto

Bridging the language gap

Accurate information is crucial to most businesses, but in the health care sector, it’s often a matter of life and death. Haman Mamdouhi, a student at York University’s Glendon College, saw a need for technology to reduce the possibility of medical errors caused by miscommunication. His solution was Health-Bridge, a translation service and diagnostic tool that eliminates language gaps between doctors and patients.

The digital platform allows healthcare providers and patients to communicate about conditions and illnesses, through a simple process that translates the diagnostic in both their languages. Summer Company was the first step in what promises to be a very successful tech startup.

With initial assistance from Summer Company, Haman successfully competed for funding in competitions such as University of Toronto’s Healthy Generation Fund. He won $10,000 towards scaling his startup, as well as mentorship from the selection jury, the use of an intern, and other support and resources.

Hannah Zondag — Main Street Swimming

St. Catharines

Hannah Zondag with Main Street Swimming in St. Catharines

Turning a pool into a profit centre

Entrepreneurs see potential that others may miss. Hannah Zondag saw a business opportunity right in her own backyard. She started Main Street Swimming as a way to take advantage of her past lifeguarding experience and her family’s backyard swimming pool.

In early June, Hannah started offering private and semi-private swimming lessons to children 3-15 years old. Two weeks later, her Red Cross-certified lessons were completely booked for the rest of the summer. Hannah’s success was demanding, with some very long days (8 hours plus) in the pool. However, she says that the experience (and the money she made) was well worth it.

Main Street Swimming is already booking lessons for next summer, and Hannah is exploring the possibility of hiring another instructor to keep up with the increasing demand.

Havalah Saunders — Hava Dance With Me

North Bay

Havalah Saunders with Hava Dance With Me in North Bay

Dancing through the summer

Havalah Saunders has always had a passion for dance, and has experience teaching it. Havalah noticed that there was a gap in the local dance season in the summer, when many people missed the opportunity to study dance. She thought that this untapped summer market offered the perfect time to start up her company, and she was right.

The Summer Company program was perfectly timed for her plans, allowing her to open her own dance studio, the cleverly named Hava Dance With Me. Her studio offered a variety of opportunities for students, including private lessons, group sessions, and drop-in classes. Her roster of students grew quickly, as word of the new summer time dance studio spread in North Bay.

There were many times throughout the summer when Instagram’s stories site was broadcasting classes via the parents of her students. Havalah was also featured in the North Bay Nugget in a short feature, describing her business and outlining where she wants to take it.

The Summer Company program helped Havalah develop a successful business plan, and provided her with the financial resources to turn her passion into a business.

Havalah will continue to operate her studio moving forward. The business has given her an added bonus, as she’s now working with professional dance companies on a contract basis.

Heather Hurtubise — Garlic Queens

New Liskeard

Heather Hurtubise with Garlic Queens in New Liskeard

Cultivating retail success

Dedicated gardener Heather Hurtubise overcame some serious weather challenges provided by Mother Nature and climate change last summer. With her diligence and old-fashioned hard work, Heather’s 1.5 acre vegetable garden on her family’s farm kept Garlic Queens well-supplied through the summer. Heather says that her Summer Company’s reputation for top quality vegetables (including the very popular garlic) has let the produce virtually sell itself. Heather also makes her own garlic powder that is also a local favourite.

She says that Summer Company program taught her about time management, maintaining a detailed produce inventory, and the importance of proper bookkeeping. All profits made from her business will go towards her post- secondary education. Heather will be back in her garden in early spring, preparing for another successful season.

Jeff Varghese — Treehouse Learning Labs


Jeff Varghese with Treehouse Learning Labs in Toronto

Sparking interest in STEM careers

Getting girls and women more involved in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields is a high priority goal for many educators. Jeff Varghese’s Summer Company is encouraging STEM careers by providing young elementary and high school students with robotics and coding training. The startup also introduces them to programming languages, as well as building at a beginner level.

A fourth year electrical engineering student at Ryerson University, Jeff put together a team of STEM university students last summer to start Treehouse Learning Labs. The majority of the Treehouse team are women, and their goal is to help younger females develop a stronger interest in the STEM field. They create a friendly and comfortable learning environment that allows the kids to learn useful skills, use their creativity, and gain confidence.

“Networking opportunities were the most valuable part of Summer Company,” says Jeff. “Being able to meet other companies and industry contacts was very helpful for Treehouse.”

Jeremy Chevalley — Moo Call & Clip


Jeremy Chevalley with Moo Call & Clip in Prescott-Russell

Keeping farmers and their herds happy

Jeremy Chevalley knows how to sell a service, and he also knows how to deliver it. Jeremy won the Young Entrepreneurs Make Your Pitch competition with his video for his Summer Company, Moo Call & Clip. He went on to set up and operate a very successful business with a unique selling proposition.

Tail trimming can reduce a cow’s risk of infection, and help keep them clean and healthy. For farmers, the task of clipping their cows’ tails is arduous and time consuming. Jeremy’s company filled that need for farmers with a service that trims cow tails efficiently and inexpensively.

The company also helps farmers stay compliant with the Dairy Farmers of Canada’s proAction initiative, covering standards related to animal care, welfare, and environmental stewardship.

Jeremy’s passion for agriculture and entrepreneurship are expressed perfectly in his business, which he is sure will continue to grow.

Jocelyn Foster — JF Designs


Jocelyn Foster with JF Designs in Shelburne

Creating the right brand

Third year graphic design student Jocelyn Foster was looking for a new experience, and she found it with Summer Company. With the encouragement of her family and friends, she opened JF Designs to meet the graphic design needs of local businesses and create rustic home decor items.

Helping small businesses and not-for- profits with branding is the main focus of JF Designs, with services that include logo design and the creation of business cards, posters, flyers, and vinyl stickers. Jocelyn also designs invitations, “save the date” cards, event tickets, banners, and table cards for weddings or other occasions. Jocelyn also creates a variety of rustic home decor items, such as signs, wall and vehicle stickers/clings, pillows, T-towels, glassware, and coasters etc., for retail sale, and offers custom orders.

Jocelyn worked closely with her clients to create the right logo and brand to attract new customers. Her diligence paid off, with sales that exceeded her original revenue forecasts. She plans to continue operating her successful company part- time while she completes her marketing diploma at Georgian College.

Kaden Kanakakeesic — Sioux Knives

Sioux Lookout

Kaden Kanakakeesic with Sioux Knives in Sioux Lookout

There’s a new forge in town

Kaden Kanakakeesic is a self-taught metalsmith and wood carver who’s putting his talents to good use. The student from Queen Elizabeth High School in Sioux Lookout ran a unique Summer Company called Sioux Knives. He operates the business out of his garage, in a workshop he designed himself.

Kaden had no prior knowledge or experience in business, but by following his passion and participating in the Summer Company program, he succeeded in operating a viable business.

In his workshop, Kaden fits the blade and knife handle together using different types of hardware. Over the course of the summer, he developed his forge and carving skills, and experimented with using different types of hardwood. He specializes in hunting/outdoor knives that can be carried in leather satchels.

Kaden filled 12 custom orders over the summer, and also made 12 knives that he will sell on his virtual shop on Etsy. He hopes to expand into creating other tools and types of knives, including Chinese and Korean chef’s knives, hammers, and gardening tools. He plans to continue on with his business while back at school.

Kaitlin Creighton — Green Bee Natural Skin Care


Kaitlin Creighton with Green Bee Natural Skin Care in Oakville

Giving customers a natural choice

Kaitlin Creighton takes environmental issues seriously. As the founder of Green Bee Natural Skin Care and an environmental governance student at the University of Guelph, she chose to take the natural approach to develop the products for her Summer Company. Green Bee Natural Skin Care manufactures natural balms, scrubs and moisturizers, all made without chemicals or artificial ingredients. No chemicals are released into the environment during production, and all products come in reusable glass containers.

Kaitlin was an active participant in mentor meetings, and regularly asked for help and guidance along the way. With the help of the program’s mentoring and training, she learned how to focus her messaging, and use social media to promote her products. Kaitlin sold her Green Bee Natural Skin Care products at local trade shows and markets, and they are also available for purchase at Studio 238, an upscale hair salon in downtown Oakville.

Through the Summer Company Program, Kaitlin demonstrated that she had learned how to better run her business and deal with unexpected roadblocks and challenges. Kaitlin will continue running Green Bee Natural Skin Care while attending school in the fall.

Kate Hurley — Kate’s Kakes


Kate Hurley with Kate’s Kakes in Pembroke

It’s a piece of cake

Kate Hurley loves baking and decorating cakes, and she is very good at it. Kate had been supplying lucky family and friends with delicious baked goods for a few years, and with their encouragement, turned her hobby into a business through Summer Company. To build on her experience, the high school student completed several baking and decorating courses, and entered local baking and decorating competitions.

Now Kate’s Kakes is a well-known source of sweet treats in Pembroke. Kate’s signature pink cake boxes are a fixture at the local farmer’s market every Saturday. Kate also fills custom orders for events, delivering cakes, cupcakes and other treats for birthdays, farewell parties, graduations, baby showers, christenings, and weddings.

Her flexible customer service brings back repeat business, and keeps her booking orders several months in advance. “I take requests of any kind,” she says. “Whatever kind of custom dessert you would like, I can provide. This includes flavours, fillings, icing, the size and shape of it, and how you’d like it decorated.”

Kate’s customers can even provide a picture of what they’d like for dessert, and she will replicate it. She also has her own unique cake designs that are very popular.

Katrin Emery — Sharp as Knives


Katrin Emery with Sharp as Knives in Ottawa

Creating inclusive streetwear

Katrin Emery saw a gap in the apparel market, and filled it with products from her own Summer Company. Katrin noted the absence of locally-crafted, high-quality apparel that was inclusive of everyone, no matter their size or gender. Her response was to create Sharp as Knives, a streetwear and alternative lifestyle brand.

Sharp as Knives specializes in screen- printed apparel and other illustrated products, such as stickers and candles. As an avid video gamer and comic reader, Katrin enjoys drawing fantastical events and people, and uses them to generate the company’s various designs and prints. With a background in graphic design, Katrin draws the designs by hand, and screen-prints them on T-shirts and other products.

Last summer, Katrin attended numerous trade shows and craft shows, and comic and anime conventions. Combined with her Summer Company training, the events helped her improve her marketing and networking skills.

Katrin is returning to Algonquin College in the fall, but intends to keep Sharp as Knives running. As she says, “I’m really excited to keep going and growing, and looking forward to the future of the company.”

Lisa Ogbomo — Lee Collection


Lisa Ogbomo with Lee Collection in Toronto

Mentoring helps sales take off

Lisa Ogbomo knows the frustration of trying to find high quality hair extensions at a reasonable cost, from personal experience. Lisa’s instincts told her that most women who purchase hair extensions shared her problem, and were tired of wasting money on trial and error purchasing. To solve the problem, she decided to launch her own line of high end hair extensions.

The success of her Summer Company Lee Collection proves that Lisa should trust her instincts. Lee Collection offers her own brand of superior human hair extensions, online and at pop-up events.

Lisa needed some guidance in setting her prices at the start of the program, and the mentoring paid off. She finished the summer as the student with the highest amount of sales in her program, with over $15,400 in hair products sold. Needless to say, the program was a huge success for her, and she plans on expanding her inventory and growing her business while continuing her studies.

Luke Nogalo — 905 Painting


Luke Nogalo with 905 Painting in Bradford

Building on experience

Luke Nogalo started as an employee, but quickly saw the benefits of becoming his own boss.

“I began painting for a large corporation, making minimum wage and answering to multiple superiors” says Luke. “Through hard work, and high quality performance I was promoted to a crew manager. These positions allowed me to develop my skills as a painter and leader, so I decided to start 905 Painting.”

Enter Summer Company, which gave Luke the guidance and resources he needed to apply his skills to his own business. Workshops, business meetings and advice from Summer Company mentors were the keys to helping the fourth year university student (and aspiring dentist) achieve business success with 905 Painting. The company offers interior and exterior painting for residences.

“Not only has 905 Painting become a profitable business, but it has also allowed me to offer friends a chance for employment in a positive work space,” he says. “None of this would have been possible without the professional guidance and financial support of Summer Company.”

Megan Swinwood-Sky — Sky Media and Marketing


Megan Swinwood-Sky with Sky Media and Marketing in Collingwood

The sky’s the limit

Savvy business people know that social media is a great (and usually inexpensive) way to attract new customers and boost sales. The challenge is that many small business owners don’t know how to use social media effectively.

Collingwood Collegiate Institute high school student Megan Swinwood-Sky saw a need for that service, and turned it into a Summer Company opportunity.

Megan started Sky Media and Marketing, a digital marketing company that helps businesses extend their social media platform to reach new clients and increase revenues.

Megan combined her social media experience and artistic talents to create a profitable business with the help of the Summer Company program. At the beginning of the summer, Megan set “learning more about web design” as one of her personal objectives. By the end of the summer, she could proudly say that she had achieved that goal, by helping with website updates for a local business.

Megan also worked on media and video production for other local companies, clocking a steady average of 42 billable hours per week through the summer. She plans to continue picking up contracts during the school year, because she wants to continue to work for herself and to learn valuable skills, while saving money for her post-secondary education in engineering.

Michael Singh — Dr. Liquidator


Michael Singh with Dr. Liquidator in Toronto

Mentor’s advice pays off

Michael Singh’s initial vision for Dr. Liquidator was to develop a new auction site to sell liquidated electronics and accessories. A chat with his advisor at Summer Company convinced him otherwise. She asked why he would spend his time building a new auction site, when existing channels like Amazon, Newegg and eBay had already proven successful for him.

Without that advice, Singh suspects his business might’ve gone in a different – less fruitful – direction. “I’m really happy I followed that advice,” says the University of Ontario Institute of Technology software engineering student.

“I didn’t know where to start,” he says.

“But they helped me to clearly define my business and business plan.” He also learned how to identify his target market and sell to those consumers, as well as navigate the world of advertising and marketing. He used the funding for startup expenses like advertising, startup inventory and his website.”

“It still required a lot of work, but once I had a clearly defined business operation, it was easier for me to handle,” he says. “When you start your own business, there’s a lot of confusion… especially if you don’t know what’s going on – Summer Company laid out the path for me and I followed it.”

Nick Norstrom — AMIE


Nick Norstrom with AMIE in Toronto

Pop-up profits

Nick Nostrom is the creator of AMIE, an apparel and lifestyle brand that includes hoodies, t-shirts, hats, candles and soaps. A fashion student at George Brown College, Nick used his passion and education to create a new line that is young, hip and affordable. All his products are locally made and sourced.

Guidance and a grant from Summer Company got AMIE up and running quickly. Nick sold his products online, and also held a pop-up event. The pop- up was a great success, selling out all his merchandise and generating new pre-orders.

Seeing the great demand for his designs, Nick created an outstanding “look book” to generate more pre- orders for the upcoming fashion seasons. Nick plans on holding more pop-up events and adding additional creative designs to his label.

Nicole Dragus — Dolled N’ Dressed


Nicole Dragus with Dolled N' Dressed in Hamilton

Reduce your stress—rent from the best

Why buy a dress when you can rent it? That was the inspiration for Nicole Dragus to start and operate her own dress rental business, Dolled N’ Dressed. Nicole understands the stress that can come with shopping for clothes for an event.

Her company helps women save time and money by giving them the choice to rent the most fashionable dresses at a reasonable price. Dolled N’ Dressed features collections from the hottest brands, and guarantees the best quality and service. Nicole’s catchy business slogan sums it up best: “reduce your stress, recycle a dress, and spend less by renting from the best”!

Summer Company gave Nicole the opportunity to turn her love and passion for fashion into a viable business venture with own dress rental company. She learned how to write a business plan, create a website, manage her finances, and burnish her networking skills.

Nicole attended every mentorship meeting with the right attitude, open mind, and willingness to learn. The end result: a successful business. Her inventory grew substantially throughout the summer, with customers renting dresses regularly, and reserving dresses for the next season. Nicole loves helping women look and feel beautiful, and plans to continue operating the business.

Rachel Barrette — Sip de Soleil

Belle River

Rachel Barrette with Sip de Soleil in Belle River

Leveraging customer service experience

Rachel Barrett had been thinking about opening a smoothie store for a few years before she decided to take the plunge. As soon as she began to seriously research her business idea, “everything fell into place.”

Sip de Soleil is a seasonal vegan smoothie bar, offering a variety of different flavours with fruit and nut milks, as well as smoothie bowls loaded with healthy toppings.

“My goal was to bring healthier snack options to the community of Belle River,” she says, “and we succeeded. We are reasonably priced, and our smoothies are the perfect snack to take to Belle River’s beautiful beach. We offered children’s and regular sizes to give our customers choice.”

Sip de Soleil is the perfect union of Rachel’s experience in customer service and passion for health and wellness. Rachel is in her fourth year at the University of Windsor, majoring in psychology.

“I loved running my own business,” she says. “I was encouraged by the other students in the program, and the mentor support and guidance.”

With her success in summer 2017, Rachel plans to open Sip de Soleil next spring for another season of smoothies.

Russell Chiu — Iridescence


Russell Chiu with Iridescence in Toronto

A springboard for young artists

As an up and coming artist, Russell Chiu knows the difficulties of finding venues to showcase his work. Many reputable local galleries and venues have a strict curatorial process, and it’s often intimidating for young artists to submit their work. To make things even more challenging, galleries often have hefty commission fees.

Knowing many talented and aspiring local artists and their need for promotion and networking, Russell wanted to create an accessible space, where emerging artists could display their work.

Iridescence, a casual and accessible art show and networking venue, was the answer. Russell’s Summer Company uses pop-up gallery events to provide an affordable and inclusive platform, in the form of a series of gallery shows for emerging talents.

During the summer, Russell held three successful gallery shows and networking events, with more than 60 vendors showcasing their art and designs. Russell’s idea has legs: the events were such a hit that they will be continuing throughout the year.

Sam Morency — Chill Ottawa


Sam Morency with Chill Ottawa in Ottawa

Network and chill

Like any 18 year old, Sam Morency knew that he needed a summer job. After hearing about Summer Company, he decided to create his own job, and bought a mobile ice cream/refreshment cart. Once fully equipped with his “icicle tricycle,” Sam started a Summer Company called Chill Ottawa, selling frozen treats throughout the nation’s capital.

Sam was busy throughout the summer, working multiple fairs, car shows, and sporting events to sell frozen lemonade, ice cream sandwiches, and lollipops.

Networking was Sam’s strong suit. He attended many networking events and eventually met with the Ottawa Redblacks, who eagerly agreed to a sponsorship deal with Chill Ottawa.

A highlight of this partnership was when Sam attended a Nepean Eagles Minor Football game with a few of the Redblacks’ players and their mascot, Big Joe. The CFL players helped to coach the team. Sam helped everyone cool off, with his refreshing frozen treats.

“This program made me sure that I wanted to be an entrepreneur,” says Sam. “It is 100% my career choice. Without this grant I may have never gotten to experience what it is like to be an entrepreneur, and without the training and mentorship, I would not have been as successful.”

Sarah Meriam — Mrs. Sarah Face Painting


Sarah Meriam with Mrs. Sarah Face Painting in Woodstock

Responding to demand

When Sarah Meriam’s friend asked her to face paint at a fundraiser five years ago, she had no idea that it could turn into a business. Each year after, people would ask for her business cards and suggest that she turn it into a business.

“It wasn’t until the fourth year when someone said ‘listen, I don’t care if you don’t have business cards. How much money does it take to get you to come over and paint for my son’s party?” says Sarah. “It was then that I decided I should open a business.”

Mrs. Sarah Face Painting was born, and Sarah credits Summer Company with her subsequent success. “Without the help of the Small Business Enterprise Centre, I never would have known where to start,” she says. “And I don’t believe I would have been near as successful as I am now.”

Sarah credits her success to the $3,000 grant, along with the mandatory 37.5 hours per week of time spent on the business. “They also gave me assistance in networking, business administration and tax preparation. I look forward to growing Mrs. Sarah Face Painting, and I will carry on in September as I pursue my BScN degree.”

Shelby Farquhar — Garden Gurus


Shelby Farquhar with Garden Gurus in Clinton

Learning by doing

She’s an entrepreneurial triple threat—she’s got creative ideas, a solid work ethic, and a welcoming spirit that’s contagious. Shelby Farquhar found her passion for plants a few years ago, and hasn’t looked back since. The 22-year old Clinton resident started Garden Gurus through the Summer Company program, and is wise beyond her years. Shelby says she applied for the program because she prefers to learn by doing, and working outside with nature is what she loves.

Shelby got her start working for a landscaping company last year, but had too many exciting ideas to stay put. She wanted to help people create beautiful and easy-to-maintain gardens, while also saving and recovering previously planted items. Environmental sustainability is always top of mind: she saves whatever plants she can, uses only natural weed solutions, and doesn’t use gasoline for her landscaping tools. She’s also full of amazing ideas on how to promote gardening as a medium for healing, self- awareness and growth.

Shelby loved the mentorship and business training the Summer Company program provides. “It can be overwhelming to start a business,” she says, “so the program and funding helped a great deal.”

She also says the community has been very supportive, offering help and encouragement whenever possible. With her positive and hard-working nature, it’s no wonder she has many repeat clients.

Sherika Harris — Sher Photography


Sherika Harris with Sher Photography in Toronto

Transforming a hobby into a business

Photography was Sherika Harris’s favourite hobby, but it wasn’t until she enrolled in the Summer Company program that she learned how to turn it into a business. Sherika is a very personable young woman, but after a few sessions with her mentor, she realized that befriending her subjects wasn’t necessarily part of her role as a professional photographer.

“I go to people’s homes and take pictures of their babies,” she says. “So they want to feel you’re a professional.”

She also modified other practices, such as sending clients detailed emails instead of texts. She used her funding to help build out her marketing materials like her website and logo, and set up a consistent invoice. Creating a detailed budget ensured that she spent her funding wisely.

“Summer Company pushes you out there to start your business,” says Sherika. “When I would go to the mentoring sessions and group sessions with the Summer Company, it was good to be reminded of all the things I’ve learned. It taught me how to be a better entrepreneur, versus just an amateur doing a hobby.”

Shupikai Mapuranga — Bliss Creations


Shupikai Mapuranga with Bliss Creations in Kitchener

Self-confidence ensures success

Shupikai Mapuranga started Bliss Creations to take advantage of her creativity and skills making gourmet cupcakes and cookies. Coming into the Summer Company program, her objective was to differentiate herself from other bakers in the region. She accomplished that goal with the valuable lessons she learned from the numerous sales and marketing seminars that were part of the program.

To ensure the best possible freshness, Bliss Creations used local ingredients whenever possible. Shupikai sold her products in a variety of venues, including local markets, weddings, birthdays, and other local events.

“Summer Company provided every necessary tool I needed to reach the optimum in my business,” she says. Her marketing strategy became very consistent, and its effectiveness was apparent through her personal interactions online content.

“I have gained confidence in myself,” she says. “I now know that success is attainable.”


James Hobson — Hacksmith Industries Inc

James Hobson with Hacksmith Industries Inc.

From side projects to successful business

Hacksmith Industries Inc. is a multi- media production company founded by Summer Company alumnus James Hobson. James participated in Summer Company in 2005 when he operated The Chainmail Kid as a 15-year old.

His Summer Company experience sparked his entrepreneurial and creative fire, eventually resulting in Hacksmith Industries Inc.

James went to work for several companies after completing his engineering degree, but always continued with side projects. In 2015, one of the side projects, an exoskeleton (external skeleton) inspired by the movie Elysium got some media attention, and James met with advisor Rob Clement to discuss turning his side projects in to a business.

James began operating the business part time as Hacksmith Industries Inc. The business had various sponsored projects which James filmed for his YouTube channel, and the rest is social media history. Hacksmith has over 2 million subscribers on YouTube, employs 10 people (four full-time) and generates over $600,000 in revenue through YouTube ads and sponsorships.

Known as The Hacksmith, James has been featured on several news shows around the world, and appeared on the Discovery Channel.

Joe Lambert — Faction Games

North Bay

Joe Lambert with Faction Games in North Bay

Setting a career for life

Joe Lambert took part in the Summer Company program in 2016, running a successful company that grew into a successful full time business. Faction Games is a retail hobby shop that sells Pokémon products, Yu-Gi-Oh cards, Magic the Gathering cards, and similar products. Faction also hosts themed card game nights and sanctioned Pokémon tournaments.

Since completing the program, Joe has graduated university, gone through the Starter Company Plus program, and moved his store to a better downtown location. He’s not only kept his business running through all of this activity, he’s expanded his product offerings. Joe personally hosts the themed card game nights, adding new clients and retaining existing ones.

“My favorite part about running my own business is finally doing what I love,” says Joe. “Getting up and going to work each day and giving it your all is much easier when you’re passionate about what you’re doing. Thanks to the Summer Company and lot of my own hard work, I’m doing the exact career I want to be doing for the rest of my life.”

Summer Company Program Providers

The Ministry of Economic Development and Growth would like to thank all our program providers and mentors for your contribution to the success of the Summer Company program.

Nottawasaga Futures

The Small Business Centre for Barrie, Simcoe County and Orillia

YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka

Small Business Centre

Muskoka Small Business Centre

Brampton Small Business Enterprise Centre

Brantford-Brant Business Enterprise Resource Centre

Leeds and Grenville Small Business Enterprise Centre

Caledon Small Business Enterprise Centre

Waterloo Region Small Business Enterprise Centre

Chatham-Kent Small Business Centre

Business Advisory Centre Northumberland

South Georgian Bay Small Business Enterprise Centre

Cornwall Business Enterprise Centre

Windsor-Essex Small Business Centre

Guelph-Wellington Business Enterprise Centre

Enterprise Temiskaming

Hamilton Small Business Enterprise Centre

Prescott-Russell Entrepreneurship Centre

Northwest Business Centre

KEDCO Small Business Development Centre

Waterloo Region Small Business Centre

Kawartha Lakes Small Business & Enterprise Centre

Small Business Centre

Markham Small Business Centre

Mississauga Business Enterprise Centre

York Small Business Enterprise Centre

Niagara Falls Small Business Enterprise Centre
Niagara Falls

The Business Centre — Nipissing Parry Sound Inc.
North Bay

Enterprise Toronto
North York

Halton Region Small Business Centre

Orangeville & Area Small Business Enterprise Centre

Invest Ottawa Entrepreneurship

Business Enterprise Centre
Owen Sound

The Business Centre — Nipissing Parry Sound Inc.
Parry Sound

Enterprise Renfrew County

Business Advisory Centre

Business Enterprise Centre Saugeen Shores
Port Elgin

Enterprise Renfrew County

Richmond Hill Small Business Enterprise Centre
Richmond Hill

Prescott-Russell Entrepreneurship Centre

Business Enterprise Centre of Sarnia- Lambton

Business Sault Ste. Marie
Sault Ste. Marie

Enterprise Toronto

YMCA of Greater Toronto

Huron Business Centre

Small Business Advisory Centre
Smith Falls

St. Catharines Enterprise Centre
St. Catharines

Elgin / St. Thomas Small Business Enterprise Centre
St. Thomas

Stratford Perth Centre for Business

Regional Business Centre

Thunder Bay & District Entrepreneur Centre
Thunder Bay

Business Enterprise Centre

Enterprise Toronto

JVS Toronto

Ryerson University

Toronto Business Development Centre (TBDC)

Youth Employment Services (Yes)

Vaughan Business Enterprise Centre

Waterloo Region Small Business Centre

Business Advisory Centre Durham

Windsor-Essex Small Business Centre

Woodstock & Area Small Business Enterprise Centre