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Student entrepreneurs put ideas into motion

By Bill Samuel

Amber Hennessey

Anber Hennessey

Six county student entrepreneurs have received training and guidance to put ideas into motion and start their own summer businesses.
“Doing the business plan is a critical step for the students,” said Lisa Price, Enterprise Facilitator/Manager at the Small Business Centre. “It helped them to decide if they even had a viable idea.”

Then they filled out an application for the SummerCompany program sponsored by the province. After their business plan and application were approved they completed 12 hours of training. The students range in age 15 to 29 years and have to return to school to qualify for the grant. The program is now in its 10th year. The Small Business Centre has partnered with the Prince Edward County Economic Development Office to administer the provincially funded program. The program offers up to $3,000, half for start-up costs and half paid to the student after completion.

Price said 75 students applied and 17 were accepted into the program.
“Some find jobs, others find that their idea is not viable when they do their business plan.”

Ideas for businesses are as varied as the individuals who are running them. The County’s young entrepreneurs are offering services such as boat detailing and cleaning, horse training and used video game sales, among others.

Nick Pothier

Amber Hennessey, of Bloomfield is at Silver Meadows Horse Training at her family home. She has been riding horses all her life and is headed off to Kemptville College this fall for a Coach’s Degree in Riding and Horse Industrial Technician.

“I tried to get my business started a couple of times,” she said. “I hadn’t done a business plan before and that really made it easier to see how business worked.”

Students meet with business mentors throughout the program and are encouraged to get to within 10 per cent of their cash flow projections. Hennessey is still struggling with attracting enough business, but she is optimistic that it will grow.

Students combine what they know with their business ideas, often drawing from both personal interests and previous work experience.

First Mate Nautical Detailing grew out of Sandy MacPherson’s personal interest in boating and previous work at the Yacht Club as the dock manager.

“ I want to eventually own my own boat charter company in the Caribbean,” said MacPherson. “This is good business experience.”

Parents are not to be directly involved in the business operation, but are an essential ingredient for the success of the young entrepreneurs. The parents often drive the students to their various appointments.

“My parents saw the program,” said Nick Pothier, of West Lake who started Pothier Games. “They said that it had my name all over it.”

Patricia Storring

When he did his business plan, it made him think about the problems he might have and feels more confident about his chances to succeed in the future. He was surprised at how much paper work was required to start. Pothier Games is an E Bay business, selling video games. In his first two weeks he has sold 30 items.

Between the business teachers in the high schools and Patricia Storring, Program Co-ordinator at the Small Business Centre, the students were given support through the application process. Helping the students to keep setting reasonable goals was part of the process. They have mentors who meet to brainstorm ideas on a regular basis.

“Coming home every night knowing I helped a student save for their college education or influencing a student is very gratifying.” said Storring. “The students are so full of questions. This is a wonderful program. I wish it had been around when I was younger. We want them to succeed. Some students continue to run their business after the program ends. The student’s funding is not geared to the success of the business, but the student must finish the program and return to school to receive the second half of their funding.
“I personally want thank the parents and the community,” said Storring, “Without them these students wouldn’t succeed.”

Lisa Price

Further information about this program or other programs being offered by the Small Business Centre contact Lisa Price at 613-243-8009 or

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