To help provide local entrepreneurs with many of the tools they need to create a strong plan, the Small Business Centre offers a free program called Starter Company Plus. This program includes a combination of one-on-one consultation with an Economic Development Officer, templates and resources needed to create a plan, and a three-day crash course where entrepreneurs receive core business education on everything from budgeting and cash flow, to human resources and staffing, to marketing your business.

In addition to free services and training, the Small Business Centre also provides opportunities for businesses to apply for a Starter Company Plus program grant. Most recently, Status Dress Rentals received a $3500 business grant for completing the program and all of the milestones.

“I’ve been working with the Small Business Centre for almost a year now and their advice and insights have been invaluable,” said Stephanie Owen, Founder of Status Dress Rentals. “Going through the Starter Company program not only taught me great lessons about business, but having the milestones marked out in a plan held my feet to the fire.”

Owen added, “I love that I can make an appointment to discuss every aspect of my business, and even just to bounce ideas off of them. They are an amazing team and helped make the launch of my online business,, a success.”

With the start of Small Business Month, business owners and enthusiastic entrepreneurs are invited to reach out to the Small Business Centre and start their application process to be a part of the Starter Company Plus program.

“There are a few steps that people need to take to be a part of the program, but it’s primarily based around the development of their business plan,” said Taylor Hughes, Economic Development Officer. “No matter if someone is just at the idea stage of their business or already has a business operating, I encourage them to reach out to us for a consultation. In a confidential space, we can listen to their ideas and help them understand some of the steps to move it forward.”

Small Business Month is on for all of October and the next three-day Starter Company Plus training session is scheduled for the end of November.

“I encourage people to contact me as soon as possible as space is limited for the program and we want to help secure a place for each business as soon as possible,” said Hughes. “I can be reached by email at or by calling 519-351-7700 extension 2031.”

For more information about Chatham-Kent Economic Development, the Small Business Centre, please visit their website at


Status Dress Rentals received a Starter Company Plus grant for $3500 from the Small Business Centre
Status Dress Rentals received a Starter Company Plus grant for $3500 from the Small Business Centre after they successfully completed the program. The online retailer has a wide selection of dresses to rent and makes it easy to wear, enjoy, and return! Worry free.
Left to right: Taylor Hughes, Economic Development Officer with the Small Business Centre and Stephanie Owen, Founder of Status Dress Rentals

Additional Details:

Media Contacts:
Andrew Tompsett
Marketing and Communications Officer
Economic Development Services, Community Development
Municipality of Chatham-Kent
315 King Street West
Chatham, ON  N7M 5K8
Phone: 519.352.8401 x2039
Fax: 519.436.3237