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 2021 Summer Company participants


Model One
By Adam Tibi

Model One creates 3D printed objects to help with technological needs. In addition, Model One makes it easy and accessible to purchase blueprints for these devices so that you can make a product to your specifications.


NXT Agency
By Kassandra Greenhalgh

NXT Agency is Kingston’s newest marketing agency focused on helping businesses with their digital presence through websites, social media, branding and more. As a Queen’s Commerce student, Kassandra is ready to bring her marketing knowledge to local businesses.


CustEM Kicks
By Elliott McDermott

CustEM Kicks is a home shoe-painting business, turning plain white athletic shoes into a masterpiece worthy of any trendsetter. Designs and colour schemes can be requested to match anyone’s style, created by the owner and artist, Elliott McDermott.


Jaz Perry Home Service
By Jaz Perry

Jaz Perry Home Service specializes in three main areas: planning/approvals, maintenance/repairs, and fine woodworking/carpentry. Jaz Perry Home Services fills the gap between the everyday handyman and large-scale contractor.


1000 Island Express
By Lyla Hinton

Living on an island, Lyla noticed that very few companies deliver packages directly to doors. She came up with 1000 Island Express, a delivery service to deliver packages directly to cottages, boats and houses in the Thousand Islands region.


By Lauren Carson

Centsi is an app designed to centralize local businesses such as artists, makers, and restaurants for easy shopping. Lauren’s app will bring the convenience of shopping local to the palm of your hand.


KGA Line Painting
By Lukas Kaufman

KGA Line Painting helps local business renovate their rundown parking lot. KGA Line Painting provides services, including sweeping, new lot layout, and re-striping existing parking lots.


By Liam Hough

Yasa, created by Liam Hough, is looking to bring yoga sessions at home into the future through virtual instructors driven by computer vision. Liam is doing this by creating a platform with low-cost on-demand content while giving real-time feedback on poses and providing recommendations on future sessions based on progress.


By Darcy Zeng

Z-Paint, a local business specializing in online art for computers and phones like lock screens, screensaver, etc. Darcy Zeng, the artist of Z-Paint is creating each piece unique from customer specifications.


Show-Off Shorts
By Mitchell Blasko

Mitchell Blasko makes stylish, unique shorts that come with an attached bottle opener on the pocket’s zipper. Customers will have the options to choose their inseam length and which side they would like their zipper on, ensuring their shorts are exactly how they want them to be!

Workshops + EventsView All

Jan 25

Participants will leave with a functional worksheet to start planning ASAP!

Jan 26

We would like to invite you to a complimentary Health Canada Compliance session.

Jan 26

Join us for a free, fun, and informal networking event where digital marketers in the Kingston area!

Jan 27

Be a part of our Virtual Business Card Exchange on Thursday, January 27th from 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Jan 27

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

Jan 27

How to use hashtags for Instagram and other social networks