Valley entrepreneurs launching a new enterprise (or expanding an existing business in operation for less than five years) have until September 29 to register for Starter Company Plus. The program, funded by the Province and delivered by Enterprise Renfrew County (ERC), is designed to provide business training for local business owners. As well as guidance and support from ERC staff, participants will receive:
- Interactive workshops on business planning, market research and financial forecasts.
- Information sessions with a lawyer, accountant and insurance agent.
- Help to develop a formal business plan.
- Mentoring from local successful entrepreneurs.
- Opportunity to compete for a grant of up to $5,000.
Becky McPhee, co-owner of Heartwood Restaurant in Combermere, who participated in the 2018 program and received a $4,000 grant, told The Current last winter that her advice for would-be business owners is to definitely sign up for this type of program.
For full details of eligibility and an application form, visit the ERC website. (Scroll down for link.)
Small Business Enterprise Centre offers free business advice
ERC offers a free source of business advice for local business owners during their first five years of operation. Earlier this year The Current spoke to Colleen Sadler who has been a Business Consultant at Renfrew County’s Small Business Enterprise Centre (SBEC) since 2001. She said SBEC was originally established in 1988 as a pilot program called Business-Self-Help Offices and it evolved into SBEC which is now in its thirty-first year of operation. She said SBEC delivers entrepreneurship programs funded by Ontario government and is a “best-kept secret” here in Renfrew County.
Sadler said SBEC services are available free for local business people prior to start-up or during the early years of operation. She said a business owner does not have to wait for a program in order to access assistance from SBEC.
SBEC advises entrepreneurs regarding start-ups and potential growth of a new business. Because SBEC is a part of Renfrew County Economic Development, they have many connections across the region and can refer business owners as needed. Their partnerships developed over many years so that they can match individuals with the relevant experts.
Sadler said that SBEC can advise on the potential of a business idea. For example, someone can bring them an idea for a possible business and SBEC can advise if it could potentially provide a business owner with full-time employment or if it is likely to become just a part-time source of income.
SBEC has partnered to provide successful services including seminars and workshops. Some past events include Bridges to Better Business and Celebrating Women in Business. Two successful programs have been Summer Company (for students) and Starter Company (for young people aged 18-29). The Starter Company Plus grew out of the latter.