Summer Company 2012 –Turning ideas into business

Last month I had the pleasure of meeting with this year’s class of Summer Company students. The provincially funded program helps students aged 15 to 29 start and grow their own businesses.

From left to right: Kate Cowan; Brendon Lisi; Jestin Miller; Regional Chair Gary Carr; Mitch Cook; Elizabeth Cornish, Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation; Liz Kush, RBC; Tom Cochrane, Halton Business Advisory Group;

Halton Region’s Small Business Centre is once again coordinating the Summer Company program in Halton for the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation (MEDI).

Students who participate in the Summer Company program receive cash awards of up to $3,000 – an upfront award of up to $1,500 to put toward start-up costs and up to $1,500 upon successful completion of the program – from MEDI.

Entrepreneurship sparks innovation, creates jobs and helps our economy grow.  Summer Company sets young entrepreneurs up to succeed, through business coaching, training and ongoing mentoring.

This year’s eight participants were selected from numerous applicants from the Halton area.  Their businesses include everything from graphic design, exterior painting and swimming lessons to flyer delivery services and more.

In addition to the cash awards, students receive business training and mentoring from volunteers from the local business community.

This year’s mentors are:

  • Liz Kush, Senior Account Manager, Business and Personal Markets RBC, South Halton Market
  • Tom Cochran, Consultant, Halton Business Advisory Group
  • Phil Von Massow, Owner, CPL Group
  • Nelia Taylor, Certified General Accountant, BDO Canada LLP

The goal of the program is to support students interested in entrepreneurship as a possible career goal.

Here are this year’s summer companies:

  • Jestin Miller, Miller’s Maintenance, Burlington
  • Brendon Lisi, Surf Sandford Apparel, Burlington
  • Ben Swallow, RealCurb Paint, Oakville
  • Alida Carlin, Hometown Painting,Oakville
  • Mitch Cook, Flyer Hustle,Oakville
  • Malcolm Halley, MADRAD, Oakville
  • Sarah Hay, Little Fins, Oakville
  • Kate Cowan, K.C. Designs, Burlington

To quote Henry Ford, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”  From what I’ve seen, this year’s class is well on its way – I’m confident that we will be reading about their successes for many years in the future.

For further information on these businesses, the Summer Company Program and the Halton Small Business Centre, visit our website at or dial 311, 905-825-6000, ext. 7900, toll free 1-866-442-5866, or TTY 905-827-9833.  Find our Halton Summer Company page on Facebook.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”