Sum­mer Com­pany par­tic­i­pants lik­ing it so far

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - FRONT PAGE - MARLA DOWDALL

While so far there has been a fair bit of trial and er­ror, Sum­mer Com­pany en­tre­pre­neur Selina Deng, of Blank Can­vas Art, is grate­ful to be in­volved in the pro­gram.

Deng, who has mainly been show­cas­ing her work at the Brockville Farm­ers’ Mar­ket, was there July 7 work­ing away on a re­cent project and greet­ing cus­tomers. Deng cre­ates land­scape, acrylic and wa­ter­colour paint­ings.

Get­ting started was a lit­tle bit on the slow side, she re­counted, as she fig­ured out what needed to be done and what steps had to be taken in get­ting the busi­ness up and run­ning. Hav­ing said that, she noted she has re­ceived “a lot of great advice,” both from pro­gram men­tors, as well as other par­tic­i­pat­ing stu­dents.

“It is great to have other peo­ple to bounce ideas off of,” said Deng, adding that, if she had ven­tured out on her own, “it would have taken me a lot longer.”

For the most part, she is spend­ing her time at the farm­ers’ mar­ket lo­ca­tion, as well as adding an on­line com­po­nent to her sales through Etsy.

As she did not know the area as well as her pro­gram men­tors, she noted they have pro­vided “a lot of valu­able sug­ges­tions” to en­sure she is on the road to suc­cess.

When the pro­gram comes to a com­ple­tion, Deng will be head­ing to school in Toronto. She will be study­ing ar­chi­tec­tural science at Ry­er­son Univer­sity.

She may keep some of her works on­line and sell past the end of the pro­gram it­self. Other stu­dents in­volved in the Sum­mer Com­pany pro­gram, she said, in­tend on keep­ing their com­pa­nies up and run­ning for longer.

Jack­son Phillips is one of the par­tic­i­pat­ing en­trepreneurs who in­tends to do just that. Once the sum­mer is over he hopes to ex­pand upon his busi­ness – All Hands on Deck. The Sum­mer Com­pany par­tic­i­pant says once he re­turns to high school in the fall, he hopes to con­tinue to “brain­storm, to see how I can grow the busi­ness.”

Phillips’ busi­ness fea­tures boat clean­ing ser­vices in area mari­nas, in­clud­ing Rock­port, Prescott and Brockville. Phillips pro­vides in­te­rior and ex­te­rior clean­ing ser­vices.

“I am re­ally en­joy­ing my­self,” he ex­plained of the sum­mer so far. As with Deng, he noted the men­tors in­volved with the pro­gram have pro­vided “great tips,” and have re­ally helped in shap­ing and grow­ing his busi­ness.

“I do like the pro­gram. It is a chance to talk and con­verse with other young en­trepreneurs,” he said. It has also helped in terms of fu­ture plan­ning. “It’s just a won­der­ful pro­gram.”

This year’s Sum­mer Com­pany pro­gram fea­tures 12 par­tic­i­pat­ing en­trepreneurs. Par­tic­i­pants have busi­nesses rang­ing from ath­let­ics, photography, wood cre­ations, boat clean­ing ser­vices and more.

Jade Cotie, Sum­mer Com­pany co­or­di­na­tor with the Leeds Grenville Small Busi­ness En­ter­prise Cen­tre, ex­plained the par­tic­i­pants are all “coach­able,” and have set goals and plans to work to­ward them.

“We have a good group of par­tic­i­pants,” Jeanette John­ston, busi­ness de­vel­op­ment co­or­di­na­tor for the LGSBEC, echoed. “I am look­ing for­ward to see­ing the end re­sult.”

Both women note the train­ing and men­tor­ing the young en­trepreneurs re­ceive gives them con­fi­dence to move for­ward and to feel as if they can achieve the goals they set for them­selves.

Net­work­ing events will be put on in or­der to get the stu­dents in­te­grated and so far events have been held, in­clud­ing a break­fast, which saw tips ex­changed amongst par­tic­i­pants and men­tors. The pro­gram it­self is funded by the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment, pro­vid­ing hands-on busi­ness train­ing and men­tor­ing.

Stu­dents are awarded up to $3,000. The funds them­selves are to aid the young en­trepreneurs start up and run their sum­mer busi­ness. The first por­tion of the award, up to $1,500, is given in the early sum­mer in or­der to aid in busi­ness start-up costs. In the fall an ad­di­tional $1,500 is given upon suc­cess­ful com­ple­tion of the Sum­mer Com­pany busi­ness as well as proof of a re­turn to school.

The pro­gram also pro­vides a twice-monthly op­por­tu­nity to meet for advice and sup­port with a lo­cal busi­ness men­tor­ship group.


Selina Deng, of Blank Can­vas Art in Brockville, is a Sum­mer Com­pany pro­gram par­tic­i­pant. She is seen here July 7 at the Brockville Farm­ers’ Mar­ket work­ing on a re­cent project and sell­ing her works.

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