Summer Company

About Summer Company

The Summer Company program, funded by the Ontario government, has been helping students, aged 15 to 29, start and run their own businesses since 2001. As a Summer Company entrepreneur, participants receive hands-on business mentoring from local business leaders and up to $3,000 to make their dream job a reality. 

If you’ve got a winning idea for starting a new business and are a student who is not afraid of hard work, you should consider applying to the Summer Company program - a great opportunity for enterprising young people who want to be their own BOSS! The program provides hands-on business coaching and mentoring from local community business leaders who will work with you to make your Summer Company a reality. 

If your application is accepted, you will be eligible to receive an upfront award of up to $1,500 to put toward start-up costs and up to $1,500 upon successful completion of the program. Successful completion requires that you: 

  • Implement your project substantially in accordance with the business plan;
  • Participate in coaching and training;
  • Meet with local business mentors as specified;
  • Provide documents related to the experience and business operations as required in the guidelines, and 
  • Meet all program requirements for establishing and operating the business

Eligibility and Participation Requirements for Candidates

You’re eligible to participate if you’re:

  • A student between 15 and 29 years old as of April 30, 2021 (a parent or guardian must sign the application for applicants under 18)
  • Starting a new business (if you’re unsure, contact your program provider)
  • Attending school and returning to school in the fall (this includes full-time, part-time, homeschooling, e-learning, distance learning, apprenticeships, trade schools, etc.)
  • A resident of Ontario
  • A Canadian citizen or a permanent resident
  • Not working at another job or attending school for more than 12 hours per week during the duration of the program
  • Following the Canada Revenue Agency definition of being self-employed
  • Able to work over the summer program period:
  • A minimum of 280 hours if you’re a high school student
  • A minimum of 420 hours if you’re a post-secondary student

We may approve exceptions.

You must meet all of the above requirements.

You’re not eligible if you’ve received funding from Summer Company in the past.

Eligibility Requirements for Businesses

Almost any type of business is eligible, as long as it:

  • Is a sole proprietorship or a corporation where you (the applicant) will be the majority shareholder
  • Is an independent business venture
  • Is a new business, not previously registered or operated on an on-going basis
  • Operates at arm’s length from family business ventures
  • Operates in Ontario
  • Operates full-time as defined in the business plan
  • Follows government rules and regulations for operating a business
  • Businesses must meet all of the above requirements.

Businesses Not Eligible for Funding

These types of businesses are not eligible for funding:

  • Partnerships/co-operatives
  • Franchises
  • Distributorships
  • Incorporated businesses that are controlled directly or indirectly by a person who would not be eligible for a Summer Company award
  • Business ventures that are subsidiaries or divisions of an existing business
  • Business ventures that are continuations of existing commercial endeavours
  • Commissioned sales
  • Multi-level marketing ventures
  • Single events such as a theatrical production, a DJ gig, a music concert, a dance/party event, a fundraiser, a sporting tournament, etc.
  • Businesses that are strictly pay per click
  • 1-900 businesses


The program gives students the full experience of running their own business. Note that:

  • The program provider may, at its discretion, determine that a particular business is ineligible for the Summer Company program
  • Online businesses are acceptable, but there must be face-to-face opportunities to market and sell your product
  • App and tech businesses must be market ready and must generate sales by the end of the summer
  • If you plan to run a business that requires certification, you’ll need to show proof to your program provider. If you’re unsure about certification obligations, ask your program provider. Certification examples include:
    • Food handling certification for businesses that produce and/or sell food
    • National Life Saving certification for businesses that offer swimming lessons
    • Canada Professional Fitness Certification (CanFitPro) for businesses that offer personal fitness training
    • Licences for businesses that specialize in drone photography

Requirements to participate

Once approved, you’ll be required to:

  • Sign a Letter of Agreement with the program provider describing each party’s rights and responsibilities (a parent or guardian Must sign the agreement for applicants under 18)
  • Sign a Release and Consent form (a parent or guardian must sign the form for participants under 18)
  • Show your business name registration and any required licensing documents to your program provider for verification
  • Open and operate a bank account for the business
  • Spend your first payment within the first 30 days
  • Operate your business over the summer program period, according to your business plan and cash flow, for:
    • a minimum of 280 hours if you are a high school student
    • a minimum of 420 hours if you are a post-secondary student
  • Meet with your local program provider and mentors for a minimum of four meetings to review and track your progress
  • Agree to one site visit by the program provider
  • Maintain appropriate business records of income and expenditures including receipts
  • Participate in business training with your program provider

Requirements to complete the program

To receive the second payment (up to $1,500), you need to:

  • Meet your requirements to participate (listed above)
  • Participate in an exit interview at the end of the summer
  • Provide the following to your program provider for review, in a professional and business-like format:
    • a cash flow record of your business operations
    • copies of all your bank statements
    • copies of all business receipts and invoices organized to show that you used the first payment for start-up costs
  • Submit a signed confirmation that you’re returning to school
  • Complete the anonymous online participant survey

If you don’t successfully complete the program, you will not receive the second payment and you may be asked to reimburse the first payment.

If you met all the requirements to complete the program, but did not spend the full first payment within 30 days, the difference will be deducted from your second payment.

Term of the Program

You may decide to start and/or continue your business while you’re in school, but for the purpose of the program’s administration, business operations can start no earlier than April 1 and must end by Labour Day.


The award is taxable under the Canada and Ontario Income Tax Acts. A T4A slip will be issued to the recipient of the award.

Check Eligibility & Apply

Meet the 2020 Summer Company participants

Kingston Wholesalers
By Alexey Makarov

Kingston Wholesalers is an online platform that sells and advertises for local businesses and their products.

By Gabriela Cruz

MaskEra is a company that resales pandemic response products such as non-Medical-Grade custom face mask (disposable and reusable), custom reusable bandana and branded face shield.


The Safe-Box
By Ibrahim Kettaneh

The Safe-box is a smart mailbox that not only connects to the owner’s digital technology, but it can also sanitize parcels and shelter them - protecting the household from recontamination, and the parcels from weather damage or porch theft. Through disinfecting parcels, the Safe-box is useful for households to combat Coronavirus and post-pandemic worries of the increasing risk of viruses and bacteria, giving households an effective protection measure and peace of mind.

Volleyball Backboard Trainer
By Mikayla McFarlane

The Volleyball Backboard Trainer (VBT) allows a player to train on their own by hitting a volleyball against a 4' x 4' solid wood surface, and having the volleyball return in an arc. The VBT's adjustable angles allow players to practice all skills required in a volleyball game through drills and self-rally.

Custom Designs
By Hector Perez

Due to the demand of businesses going online, Hector Perez will be offering affordable and professional videography and photography for businesses that need to create and/or update their online websites, social platforms and e-commerce stores.

Love Human Madness
By Ryan Muharrem

Love Human Madness is a unique multimedia, multi-platform brand experience. This company spreads messages of equality and understanding but also provides entertainment with educational value through the podcast format.

AZ Productions
By Aiden Zabukovec

AZ Productions is a videography company that specializes in capturing video for companies, musicians and athletes. Their video footage tells a story about a business, musicians and athletes. With quality video and creative editing styles, AZ Productions provides recaps of music artists, fitness studios and young athletes looking to be recruited for post secondary schools.

Z.B. Baits
By Zachary Baker

Z.B. Baits produces and sells soft plastic fishing baits at local shops in eastern Ontario. 

Squeaky Clean Horses
By Gwen Griffith

Squeaky Clean Horses is a company that specializes in cleaning horses particularly for the SETHJA Horse Shows.

Workshops + EventsView All

May 6

Join other women entrepreneurs to learn how to move forward in your business while dealing with the grief and loss of the global pandemic.

May 11

Learn how to get valuable leads on your website!

May 11

Don't miss this opportunity!

May 12

This workshop is specifically aimed at helping tourism organizations and small businesses operating in the shoulder/winter tourism sectors in Kingston.

May 12

Learn how to start your business with Summer Company!

May 13

Starting a small business? Learn how Kingston Economic Development can help!