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Celebrating 25 Grants

Celebrating 25 Grants Distributed to New Businesses

    The Thunder Bay and District Entrepreneur Centre marks the two-year anniversary of the official launch of the Ontario government’s Starter Company program, which provides training, mentoring, and a potential grant of  up to $5,000 for those with a winning business plan. 25
grants have been awarded to young entrepreneurs, who have used the money to purchase inventory, secure a store space, advertise, and help with other start-up costs.

To date, nearly 100 youth have taken advantage of the training, tools, and resources provided by Starter Company. CEO Doug Murray says, “This has been a great program that provides comprehensive training and has created or enhanced a multitude  of businesses. Many Starter Company participants continue to be successful and even employ other people.”
“We’ve seen some amazing candidates start and grow their businesses, and it’s been inspiring to see the immense variety of business types and the uniqueness of these entrepreneurs,” adds Ryan Moore, Development Officer for the Entrepreneur  Centre. “Starter Company has
been a very worthwhile experience for these participants, whether or not they were awarded a grant.”
Starter Company is provincially funded through the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure (MEDEI) as part of the Youth Jobs Strategy. Program participants must be between the ages of 18 to 29 and pursuing their  business full-time. Paired with a winning business plan, grant applicants must have owner’s equity that amounts to 25 per cent of the grant. There are another 23 Starter Company grants to be distributed in Thunder Bay and area from now through March
31, 2017.
“Supporting businesses and communities with important investments such as Starter Company is part of our Growth Plan for Northern Ontario,” said Hon. Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines and MPP Thunder Bay – Superior  North. “By having our Small Business Enterprise Centres open and ready for business in Northern cities, we can offer a range of great programming including Starter Company to help these companies thrive. In many cases, the businesses that are founded through  the Starter Company program continue on, and grow into great Northern enterprises.”
“It’s very rewarding to see the successes of our youth who have participated in our government’s Starter Company program,” said Hon. Bill Mauro, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry and MPP Thunder Bay – Atikokan.  “By investing in young entrepreneurs, we are providing
the training and resources needed to run successful businesses which ultimately will result in growing our economy and creating jobs.”
Mayor Hobbs adds, “Entrepreneurship is a community staple and small business is vital in driving the economy of Thunder Bay. Our young people are Thunder Bay’s future, and judging from youth initiatives like Starter Company, I believe our  community is in good hands.”
Starter Company successes include Brighter Days Elderly Services, Red Zone X Fitness, Pour Boys Stone and Concrete, Costal Productions, Jean-Paul De Roover Inc., Lockstitch Fabrics, and 2Shelter Tent Rentals. More information on Starter  Company including a full list of
successful grant recipients can be found on the Entrepreneur Centre’s website – www.EntrepreneurCentre.ca
About CEDC:
The CEDC is responsible for business development, retention and expansion, entrepreneurial support, opportunity promotion, and the collection and assessment of key business data. The CEDC receives formal proposals for projects that will contribute to economic  development. It responds quickly to new opportunities and initiatives to attract direct financial involvement from government and private sectors. For more information, visit www.ThunderBayCEDC.ca.

Jesse Buob 2 Shelter Party Tent Rentals
“ We do any kind of outdoor events - weddings, parties, corporate events. We have tents, tables and chairs and lighting. This is my third business. We partnered with Habitat for Thunder Bay and donate part of every rental to them.”
   “ Last season was our first year and was good. It was a nice learning curve with lots to learn. This season we have many weddings and some corporate jobs. It is a full time job for me and my employees are part time.”
“  I am 23 years old and started my first business out of high school about 6 years ago  and have been rolling with it ever since. I spent a year in college and a few years in the military. It was good training.”
“ I approached the bank of mom and dad and came across the starter program. They brought on many people like accountants and lawyers that definitely helped.”
Taylor Green, Animikii Tours
“ We registered as a business February 1st and will have our first tours  beginning this May 20th. We have to get our business plan in by this month, May 16th for the Starter Program.”
“  My background is in urban planning and geography and have worked in hospitality and tourism across Canada. I decided to come to Thunder Bay to start this business as we have many wonderful attractions here. The market place in waiting for us.”
The name Animikii means Thunder and represents Thunder Bay well and the first nations heritage.”
  “ We do an executive tour which is in a smaller vehicle-  a new mini van.We have great suppliers to work with as well as Ontario Parks and Parks Canada. All have been really excited and very supportive.”

“ We have 5 different scheduled tours. For instance the Top 5 Thunder Bay Tour is day of 5 prominent locations. We have  free pick up from your hotel, free transportation and lunch is provided. We  also have snacks and refreshments and pay all the admission fees. Our fee
structure can be from $139 per person. We will do the tour with one
person if required.”
“ I have done a ton of research on these tours and want something for every one to learn. It is great for someone who lives here already as well. The Thunder Bay Public Library has been very helpful with my research.”

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