Three Sudbury teen entrepreneurs now business owners thanks to Ontario program
SUDBURY -- Three Sudbury high school students are getting a first-hand perspective on what it's like to be a part of the business world; they're now official entrepreneurs.
The trio from St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School received business grants from the program 'Summer Company' for their projects.
It included a maximum grant of $3,000 to cover start-up costs and they had to submit business plans.
According to the province's website, 'Summer Company' helps young people between 15 and 29 years old, to start and run their own summer business.
It also provides advice, services and mentorship to these new business owners.
Last year only 38 inspiring young entrepreneurs made the cut.
Students had to submit a business plan and cash flow projections.
Dante Strangis was one of the recipients. He's launched a local start-up that aims to deliver elegant wood products to its customers, aptly named "Dante's Custom Woodworking."
"I've always had a passion for woodworking and I decided that I wanted to start a little business, my parents found the summer program online and I applied for it. I was contacted by someone from the Regional Business Centre and we went ahead and started the program," said Strangis.
"Thanks to my business background in high school and some of the courses I took, I was able to create the business plan, it was pretty long though, it was a couple pages long," he explained.
Strangis has been getting a lot of experience building things like shadow boxes, oars and trivets, all by hand; he'd still like to try his hand though at making something bigger like a desk. He's hopeful someone might order one.
"I have a cottage and I've seen a lot of people, there is a really big market, people are looking for high quality, good quality, like elegant woodworking instead of your plain-Jane stuff so I decided I can do that so I might as well create a business."
Mackenzie Coggins decided to turn her passion for fitness into a thriving business by launching her company, 'Active Soul.'
'Active Soul' has launched its first ever comfort fit resistance bands that she hopes will intensify the workouts and strengthen the glutes.
"They're helping us to set up our business licenses, they're teaching us about taxes and how to file your income and stuff like that and as a reward, we get the grant and all the lessons that come along with it," Coggins explained.
"For me the most important thing is having control over branding my own company and making sure I have the right brand imagine, you know like, I really want to put an emphasis, emphasis, on inspiring confidence," she said.
Coggins says the resistance bands are made out of eco-friendly cotton and while she's starting with the one product, she's hoping if successful, she might be able to expand the line.
"I'm hoping lots of future events do come after this, one of the biggest things I'm looking forward to is the lessons that are going to come with it, filing your taxes, we don't get taught that at school," she added.
Brady Howard decided to take his passion for shoes and run-with-it. He's turned it into his new company called 'B-Hyped Kicks & Clothing', finding niche or "hyped" items and delivering them to your door.
"I resell limited edition clothes and shoes, stuff you can't always walk into a store and just buy," explained Howard.
"I thought if I want to work hard, I should do something that I really enjoy. I've been collecting shoes and going to sneaker conventions in Toronto for the last three years, so I thought why not start there? We don't really have a business doing it here."
"You know, I find in general, I've been in business class at school and I learn a ton and I enjoy it but being hands-on and starting to run your own and talking with the mentors and people also in the program, it really helps you get an idea," he said.
Howard says launching his own business has given him new respect for why it's important to be organized and while he's not sure what he wants to do yet as a future career, if this business takes off, he believes it could open a lot of doors.
"We'll see where it takes me," he said.
"Definitely proud of Brady but also proud of the other two students as well, it takes a lot for them to do what they did right? And then to compete and to know that they made it to the top right," said Christina Raso, Brady's mom.
"With this great start along with their tenacity, drive and entrepreneurial spirit, I am certain that we will be hearing more from these three business stars in the years to come," congratulated Peter Prochilo, the Sudbury Catholic District School Board Superintendent.
The program typically runs May to July and it's unclear if anything will change with dates due to COVIDV-19. The students will qualify as "self-employed" for business tax purposes and must operate in Ontario on a full-time basis.
High school students also have to be prepared to commit a minimum 280 hours to complete the requirements.