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, 2019  (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 2019 Summer Company participants

Photo of Avery Collins

Avery’s Academic Achievers
By Avery Collins
Avery’s Academic Achievers will offer tutoring services to students in grades Junior Kindergarten – eight. The primary focus of Avery’s Academic Achievers work will be in math, reading, and writing.

Photo of Kyra Grant

By Kyra Grant
LifeLuxe Connect is a recreational and community management platform for retirement residences that enables seniors to pilot their own social lives. Residents are able to use their devices to contribute to the recreational programming within their community via the LifeLuxe app.

Photo of Keli Hawley

Bowl Savour
By Keli Hawley
Bowl Savour is a company that manufactures unique smoking aid devices for the cannabis industry. Bowl Savour was created with the intentions of allowing users a more enjoyable experience.

Photo of Ania Marcus

Hands in the Earth
By Ania Marcus
Hands in the Earth will offer creative and innovative artwork that aims to inspire and support environmental sustainability. As a collective, these products reclaim old materials to encourage creative ways of reusing, reducing, and recycling to better the environment.

Photo of Patrick Mazurek

Seventh Sense
By Patrick Mazurek
Seventh Sense offers strategy, marketing, and operational consulting to small businesses in Kingston. Seventh Sense will assist local businesses with a high degree of technical expertise, but a low degree of business acumen. 

Photo of Sam O'Brien

Unlimited Blvd.
By Sam O’Brien
Unlimited Blvd. is a clothing brand with products that are unique because they feature multiple different trendy and modern designs that young people struggle to find at a reasonable price, while returning profits to local charities to help support programs for children and youth in the community.

Photo of Clare Palmer

Specadirt Vintage
By Clare Palmer
Specadirt Vintage is carefully curated vintage and pre loved streetwear sold online through social media, online marketplaces, as well as at weekly pop-ups in the community. Clare has been upcycling thrifted clothing as a hobby for almost a year and now turned it into a business.

Photo of Makayla Parks

Highland Aerial
By Makayla Parks
Highland Aerial is a photography and mapping company which uses drones to create videos, photos, and orthomosaic maps. Highland Aerial captures stunning footage and creates highly detailed maps that create new perspective for the viewer.

Photo of Cameron Smith

This is Kingston
By Cameron Smith
This is Kingston is an affiliate marketing site that aims to connect small businesses in the Kingston area to customers. This is Kingston will also be offering web design services for small businesses that do not have websites.

Photo of Khadija Sorani

Al Amal
By Khadija Sorani
‘Al Amal’ means hope in Arabic. Khadija is a Syrian refugee who found asylum in Kingston, which gave her hope to start a new business and bring some of her culture to her new home. Al Amal will be making and selling Syrian famous desserts to local businesses, catering companies, and at events.

Workshops + EventsView All

Aug 19

Join other women entrepreneurs to learn how to unlock the power of business emotional intelligence with Angela Hoyt of Evolution Group.

Aug 20

The pandemic is changing the business landscape as we know it.

Aug 20

An in-depth look at funding resources from grants to micro-loans, through to venture capital.

Aug 25

If you’re thinking about starting a business, conducting market research is a great place to start.

Aug 26

Join women entrepreneurs from across the Kingston region to discuss how to build and maintain a thriving network during COVID-19.

Sep 17

An in-depth look at funding resources from grants to micro-loans, through to venture capital.