Summer Company 2014: Helping Halton’s young entrepreneurs thrive

Entrepreneurship plays an integral role in innovation, job creation and economic growth. With small businesses contributing an increasing amount to Halton’s strong economy, Regional Council is committed to supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs as they establish themselves and expand. One way that we support entrepreneurship in the Region is through our youth entrepreneurship programs including Summer Company.

Every year, Halton Region works with the Ontario Government to provide support to student entrepreneurs between the ages of 15 and 29 to help them start and run their own business through the Summer Company program. Successful applicants receive hands-on business training and mentoring and can receive up to $3,000 in funding to help them get their business off the ground. Programs like Summer Company provide the next generation of entrepreneurs with the necessary training, mentorship and support that can help put them in a position to succeed.

The goal of the Summer Company program is to support students interested in entrepreneurship as a possible career goal by helping them launch a summer business.  This year’s participants are extremely talented and were selected from a group of applicants throughout the Halton area.  The 2014 summer companies include:

  • Trevor Clost, Hockequip, Burlington
  • Luke Corbeth, Corby Car Cleaners, Oakville
  • Paul DeMarco, DeMarco Business Services, Oakville
  • Cory Hudson, Ambient Audio Canada, Oakville
  • Yara Kashlan, A Ray Creative Publishing, Burlington
  • David Kong, Eco-Space, Oakville
  • Tom Lethbridge, Cutting Edge Language, Burlington
  • Jason Lum, JXL Apparel, Oakville
  • Cameron Mulligan, First Waves Swim School, Oakville
  • Thomas Neely, The Boys of Summer Landscape & Lawn Care, Georgetown
  • Dragos Rotaru, Orchard Audio & Design, Oakville
  • Anna Starkova, Blue Hat Caricatures, Oakville

While Summer Company is coordinated locally through the Halton Region Small Business Centre, we rely on community volunteer business advisors to help provide extra support and to mentor the students. I would like to thank all of our volunteers for taking the time to help this year’s group of students. Our 2014 mentors include:

  • Tom Cochrane, Retired Businessman with Oakville Business Advisory Group, Oakville
  • Liz Kush, Senior Account Manager, Royal Bank of Canada, Burlington
  • Ivana Pejakovic, Empowerment coach for Women/Director of R&D, Bruno LoGreco Inc., Oakville
  • Steve Sprenger, Senior Manager, BDO Canada, Burlington
  • Phil Von Massow, Owner of CPL Group, Oakville

The Region’s strong economy relies on people with a resilient entrepreneurial spirit. We are committed to developing and supporting our local small businesses and those who are considering becoming an entrepreneur. Whether you’re thinking about opening a business, formulating your business plan, expanding an established small business or looking for youth entrepreneurship programs, the Halton Region Small Business Centre is here to help.

For more information about the Halton Region Small Business Centre please visit or dial 311. You can also follow the Halton Region Small Business Centre on Twitter at @HaltonEcDev, on Facebook and on WordPress.

As always, 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, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

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.”