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Ontario Summer Company Program : Recent Trends

Reshma Kanase  |  Jan. 25, 2021, 10:06 p.m.

Ontario Summer Company Program allows students to place their business model in the market by providing funds and proper mentorship about entrepreneurship.

Benefits :

More briefly, they provide aspiring  teenage entrepreneurs with

  • funds for their startup,
  • advice and mentorship from local business leaders
  • Sales, marketing, bookkeeping, customer relationship management and networking skills.

Rewards : 

The applicant teenage entrepreneurs get $3,000 in total in 2 instalments - up to $1,500 upfront to help with start-up cost and up to $1,500 when you complete the program. This program is held from May to July. 

Who is eligible?
You could be eligible if you:

  • go to high school, college or university.
  • live in Ontario.
  • are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
  • are between 15-29 years old (if under 18: a parent or guardian must sign the agreement for the applicant).
  • are not already running a business.
  • are not working at another job or going to school for more than 12 hours a week during the program.
  • are returning to school after the program ends.

BUT, you cannot apply again, if you have received a Summer Company grant in the past.
Here - Summer Company - Eligibility Checklist, is a checklist for eligibility for the Ontario Summer Company Program which will let you know if you are eligible for the program.

Business eligibility criteria :
One can choose almost any type of business, and criteria for it is that -

  • You should be the sole owner, where you are the majority shareholder.
  • It should be an independent business venture and not a part of an existing or family business.
  • It qualifies as “self-employed” for income tax purposes.
  • It should operate in Ontario.
  • Your enterprise should follow all government rules for operating a business.

The steps to apply :

  • Check to see if you’re eligible for the program.
  • Complete the online application inquiry.
  • Select your local program provider.
  • Assign yourself a password.
  • Submit your application inquiry.

We have obtained some statistical data about the number of people applying and completing the program under Access to Information act; and some about awards allocation of summer company program for Ontario applicants.
This bar graph is about the number of awards allocated for the program by various region to the program providers between 2016 to 2019. The data intimates about the decline in the allocations to the summer company program.

We have evaluated the data for one specific tri-city location of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge. The reason being this location is one of the fastest-growing tech and innovation hubs of Canada.

The data reflects that there is a decline in application inquiry and completion of the program by students year-wise (2016-2019) in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge.
In the year 2020, only six students got accepted for summer company program which is the lowest since program inception.

This year on year decline is seen Ontario wise. With an influx of new immigrants and population increase across Ontario, the decline in interest in entrepreneurship is of concern. 
The next graph represents the decline in application enquiry and completion, year-wise for the entire Ontario region applicants.

As you can see from the graph, not only inquiries but also those students who complete programs have been seeing a downtrend.  
Summer company program also publishes yearbook of many of the students who complete the program. This can be found here
Our team researched each of the entrepreneur and their businesses and found that almost 90 per cent have shut down their ventures after the program. Creating a start-up takes a lot of energy out from entrepreneur. Summer Company program offers its students both mentorship and funding. With so much time and money invested in students who want to be entrepreneurs, it would help the region and program if there is an effort to take these student startups and help them grow after year 1 and help them along the way.  When students see summer company program yearbook and the startups and see most of them closed, it doesn’t inspire them to join this program.
Today online tools are available. Why not have alumni of the student startups and support the group and let the group members support each other. Hopefully, the interest in the program will pick up again.


Reference :
1. Summer Company - Eligibility Checklist
2. Summer Company program guidelines 

last updated at Sept. 24, 2021, 8:15 a.m. UTC

We are creating a new interconnected world for teenage entrepreneurs to network with fellow members, cultivate innovations, apply for funding, access entrepreneurship education, join local chapters, share expertise, and solve challenges, and more. We are super excited about young entrepreneurs who are applying solutions to real-world problems, producing thriving businesses, and pivoting the world to the future.

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