Guelph entrepreneurs to take part in Starter Firm

Guelph businesses can try to recoup their losses from the pandemic by participating in the Starter Company Plus.

Entrepreneurs of existing businesses can apply for the four month long program run by the Business Center Guelph-Wellington.

Each year the program sees 20 to 30 people graduate receiving a grant up to $5,000.

“So we want to make sure that it goes to the companies that are doing the work and are going to use it for the betterment of their company,” said Kristel Manes, executive director of the business centre.

To apply, business owners must be 18 years of age or older, create a business plan and commit to work 25 to 30 hours a week on the business.

They also need to participate in the six week stepping into business program prior to Starter Company Plus.

Manes said many different businesses are part of the program from retail to the beauty industry.

“A lot more of, you know, restaurateurs, just trying to, you know, level up their services, again, trying to sort of expand services trying to meet the demands of the new world, if you will, the new economy coming out of COVID,” said Manes.

“Because COVID is not over, right, like we recognize for businesses that their recovery will be at least two to three years.”

Entrepreneurs will have business advisors who will help guide them to achieve their goals. Many workshops like how to do market research and social media marketing. By implementing strategies they learn from the program they can see the results in real time, said Manes.

“It’s important that you invest in your own professional development to increase your skill sets, to increase your knowledge, increase your understanding, so that you’re even more successful,” said Manes.

There are a variety of programs starting September for entrepreneurs at all stages if people are not eligible for this particular program.

“So it’s important to know that they’re not alone. They don’t have to work in silos, that we’re here to help support them,” said Manes.

Applications can be submitted until Aug. 31 and the program begins in September. The next cohort of the program will begin in March of next year.

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