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The Starter Company Plus Comes of Age

During our lives, most of us learn and apply a set of skills to make our living. Depending on circumstances, we might call our occupation a vocation or calling, a profession, a trade or a craft. Some folks develop fine skills in arts, sports or hobbies, although they don’t make a living from them. What these occupations have in common is that, although valuable, they are not necessarily a business venture. If you have not developed and implemented a plan to take on financial risk, effectively produce a product or service, and take it to market for profit, then you are not in business, not yet  -  but you could be.

There are many good reasons why a small business can be good idea  -  creating new options for yourself, directly profiting from your ideas and skills, working at your passion, living in a community you choose, or just supplementing your income.

A few years ago, the Province of Ontario launched a pilot project called Starter Company to promote the creation of small businesses as an option for youth searching for hard-to-find jobs. The project was a relative success. In Chatham-Kent alone, the Starter Company project managed by the Municipality of Chatham-Kent’s Small Business Centre helped to create 17 new businesses.

Now all grown up, the new Starter Company Plus program offers assistance to small entrepreneurs of all ages. In 2018, more than 60 hopeful new business people have attended a free three-day training seminar, one in June and one in September, on how to construct and fine-tune their business plans. They also received ongoing counseling by the Small Business Centre, and successful plans received up to $5,000 in start-up money.

“All consultations are free and we will assist with any questions they have about their business plan,” says small business consultant Rosemarie Montgomery. “Whether they are approved for the grant or not, we will assist them with any business-related questions or issues they have in the future.”

You can contact the Small Business Centre for more details at 519.351-7700 or by email at

Learn more about Chatham-Kent Economic Development and the Small Business Centre at