25 businesses start under revamped program


An entrepreneur support program has been revamped following a successful three-year pilot period. Established in 2014, Starter Company provided mentoring and access to funds for non-student youth to start or grow a business. The program recently underwent a transformation, and the new Starter Company Plus is now open to entrepreneurs of any age over 18.

Funded by the Province of Ontario, Starter Company is administered in the district by the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation. Over the past three years, a total of 25 businesses in the Sault area made their way through the program: Knight Legal Solutions, Jax & Hail, Cavera Inc., CC Communications, Contained Space, ThinkSpace Home Renovations, Valor Props & FX, Superior TreeWorks, Bento Beauty, Newfangled Apparel & Design, Cas Evans Photography, The Phone Laboratory, Heuristext, First Response Health & Safety, Northern Organic Chaga, Samantha Beauty, Rachel’s Rejuvenating Spa, The Back 40, Trotter Taxidermy, Innovative Potential Inc., The Powder Room Beauty Bar, Awaken Ink, The Plant Farm Inc., Spark Fitness, and Chaga North.

Details and descriptions of the 25 Starter Company businesses are available online at www.sault-canada.com.

“We’ve seen a number of interesting businesses establish under Starter Company – everything from a paralegal firm and full-service marketing agency, to a taxidermist and mini home manufacturer,” said Andrew Ross, Manager of Enterprise Services for the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation. “We’re very happy with the results of the pilot program, and we’re excited to see the new Starter Company Plus roll out.”

For more information on Starter Company Plus, contact Andrew Ross at 705-251-3500 ext. 1000 or [email protected].

Meanwhile, recognizing its financial and managerial experience and capacity, the Province of Ontario tasked the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation to be Starter Company’s regional grant administrator for all of Northern Ontario. Over the past three years, the organization facilitated program grants for 120 businesses located in Sudbury, North Bay, Timmins and Temiskaming Shores.

Along with Starter Company, the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation also administers the province’s Summer Company program, which provides mentoring and grants to help high school and post-secondary students operate a business during the summer months. Between 2010 and 2016, 90 youth in the area enrolled in Summer Company. In many cases, the seasonal businesses were turned into full-time, year-round operations, which speaks to the impact of the program. Applications are now being accepted for 2017 Summer Company. The deadline to apply is May 6. To register, visit www.ontario.ca.

“We deliver business support programs catered to young entrepreneurs, large industrial firms and everything in between,” said Dan Hollingsworth, Executive Director of Business Development for the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation. “The end result leads to more business startups and expansions, which creates and retains jobs in the community.”

Starter Company and Summer Company are delivered out of the Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship. Located at the Machine Shop, the facility is operated by the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation. For more information, visit www.themillworks.ca. Also online: www.sault-canada.com.