Starter Company Plus

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Starter Company Plus

The Starter Company Plus program offered through Kingston Economic Development Corporation with funding from the Government of Ontario, is designed to provide business training for entrepreneurs aged 18 and over who are have the opportunity to pitch for a non-repayable grant of up to $5,000 to start or grow your business.

While the Starter Company Plus initiative is open to eligible individuals (see below for eligibility criteria), the training and mentoring is a mandatory aspect of this program geared toward assisting those in need of business knowledge and support.

What You Get

Through Starter Company Plus, you receive:

· The opportunity to pitch for a non-repayable business grant of up to $5,000
· One-on-one guidance from a Small Business Enterprise Centre advisor
· Professional business workshops, seminars and networking events
· Training for entrepreneurs from business plan development to financial planning and marketing
· Access to a professional business mentor with experience in starting, expanding or buying a small business

To be eligible, the applicant must:

· not be currently attending school on a full-time basis nor intending to return to school;
· be a resident of Ontario;
· be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
· be 18 years of age or older at the time of application;
· not have full-time employment outside of the Project at the time of funding;
· not be receiving social assistance ie. ODSP;
· be fully responsible for the ongoing operations and decisions of the Project and is the majority partner or shareholder;
· not be enrolled in other provincial business startup programs that include financial assistance;
· not be currently enrolled concurrently in any self-employment programs offered by government-funded organizations;
· be expected to match the grant amount they are requesting with a 25% personal investment (eg. a $2000 grant will require a $500 personal contribution in the business);
· not have previously received Starter Company or Starter Company Plus funding in Ontario; and
· business training is mandatory in order to submit an application

To be eligible, the business must:

· be proposing to start a new business or expand an existing business that is 5 years or younger with proof of sales;
· not be a business that relies on national sales frameworks ie. Pyramid Marketing;
· be a legal business in Ontario;
· not be a franchise;
· operate full-time as defined in the business plan;
· have a separate bank account in order to maintain books and records;
· follow all government rules and regulations and applicable by-laws for the operation of the business; and
· be sales ready at the time of funding

Suitability

While the Starter Company Plus initiative is open to eligible individuals, the training and mentoring is a mandatory aspect of this program geared toward assisting those in need of business knowledge and support.

Approval into the Starter Company Plus initiative is competitive and eligible applicants may not all be accepted.

Meet the 2022 Spring Starter Company Plus Participants:

Crop Circle Gardens – Brent Sindall

Crop Circle Gardens is a sustainable hobby farm producing plants and plant products for local community markets.

Cozy Company – Brooklyn Benn

The Cozy Company is a Canadian, woman-owned clothing brand. Each item is designed for comfort and made to be dressed up or down to suit everyday needs.

EZ Flow Spas – Cameron Gard

Ez Flow Spas is a on-site pool and spa service provider in Kingston and the surrounding area. Specialties include pool heaters, winterizing and pool & spa treatment chemicals available for delivery.

Curate Social – Christine Ray Bratt

Leading the way in experiential shopping in Kingston, Curate Social is the place to grab a drink, socialize, shop and discover styles and flavours from across Canada and the world.

Little Friday – Ciara Roberts

Little Friday is a full-service video production company that celebrates the small details that makes everyone unique.

Doozy Dees by Lindsay Neilsen

Doozy Deez is a doughnut shop owned/operated by a female duo. Home of Kingston’s Surprise Trio Boxes— 3 doughnuts, each with their own unique surprise flavours.

The Good Home Company – Kaitlan Dixon

The Good Home Company specializes in hand-poured soy blend candles and linen sprays. All candles are made in small batches.

Just Poke it Studio by Leela Bruce

Located in the west end of Kingston, Just Poke It Studio is a tattoo and piercing studio specializing in aftercare and locally made jewelry.

Island Yurt – Linda Belisle

Island Yurt is a sacred space to gather for yoga, meditation, retreats, workshops and holistic wellness sessions.

LL Contracting – Matt Benoit

A local Kingston area construction business focusing on custom tile work, full renovations and decks.

Kingston Driving School – Peeresh Jolly

The Kingston Driving School provides the Ministry of Transportation’s authorized Beginner Driver Education course with home-based E-Learning curriculum.

Tristan Adams & Associates – Tristan Adams

Tristan Adams & Associates is a small Canadian design, construction and restoration company dedicated to the creation and conservation of well-crafted and timeless projects.

Interested In Applying For The Starter Company Plus Program?

Timeline for 2022 Fall Cohort:

August 2 – September 11 – Application window open
September 26 – September 30 – Mandatory Business Bootcamp
October 14 – Final day to submit your business plan and pitch
October 31 – Participants notified of the results of the judging panel
November – February – coaching and mentorship program

Frequently Asked Questions

In order to receive funding, the business can be a new start-up, an acquisition (i.e. the participant is purchasing a business from a retiring entrepreneur) or an existing business that is less than 3 years old. As long as the applicant is fully responsible for the ongoing operation and decisions of the business and is the majority shareholder in the case of a corporation, most types of businesses are allowed under the program.

To be eligible, a business or proposed business must:

· be proposing to start a new business or expand an existing business that is 3 years or younger with proof of sales;
· not be a business that relies on national sales frameworks ie. Pyramid Marketing;
· be a legal business in Ontario;
· not be a franchise;
· operate full-time as defined in the business plan;
· have a separate bank account in order to maintain books and records;
· follow all government rules and regulations and applicable by-laws for the operation of the business; and
· be sales-ready at the time of funding

Yes. A business or proposed business may be a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation, but the grant can only be given to one person in the company. For corporations and partnerships, the recipient must own at least 50% of the shares. The Starter Company Plus recipient must be responsible for the ongoing management of the firm. In addition, if there are two partners only one is eligible to receive the Starter Company Plus grant of up to $5,000 for a specific business idea (grants will not be given to multiple individuals for the same business idea).

Participants may receive up to $5,000 in funding. Participants are expected to match the grant amount they are requesting with a 50% personal investment (eg. a $5000 grant will require a $2500 personal contribution in the business). This may include asset-based or in-kind contributions at fair market value, such as equipment or machinery required to run the business, e.g., ladders/scaffolding for a painting company, camera and lenses for a photographer. In-kind contributions may not include “sweat equity” (a contribution in the form of effort as opposed to a financial contribution) or loans or other types of loaned support.

Yes. Participants who receive a Starter Company Plus grant must sign an agreement that outlines their responsibilities under the program. If they do not adhere to this agreement, they will be considered in default of the program and recovery of all grant monies disbursed.

A grant committee made up of local business professionals, entrepreneurs and private sector stakeholders will review final applications and determine which applicants are accepted and the amount of funding a proposal receives.

Acceptance decisions are based on:

· feasibility of the proposed business;
· proposed business’ potential for growth and job creation;
· start-up budget and financing needs of the proposed business;
· cash and in-kind contributions of the applicant;
· applicant’s overall participation in the training program; and
· regional economic development priorities based on specific industry sectors

Yes. Even if a proposal is not selected to receive funding, a participant can still participate in the training and mentoring components of the program to help them open a business. This is dependent on the number of seats available in training and mentoring.

Yes. There is no restriction against participants receiving Employment Insurance (EI), however, once you register and start the business you are no longer eligible for EI as a self-employed person.

Those participating in Starter Company Plus may not be enrolled at the same time in the Ontario Works Self Employment Development program, Summer Company, or any other similar programs offered by government-funded organizations. However, it is possible to access these programs sequentially. For example, someone who has started a business through Summer Company may later apply to participate in Starter Company Plus in order to take their business to the next level. Similarly, participants may apply to Futurpreneur (formerly the Canadian Youth Business Foundation) after receiving Starter Company Plus funding and mentoring, provided that they apply in the first year of operation of their business.

Yes. A potential applicant to the program who is enrolled in part-time schooling or training (part-time is defined as 1 course per semester) is eligible for participation in the Starter Company Plus program. You must be prepared to satisfy program training and mentoring requirements and commit a minimum average of 30 hours per week to running your business.

No. The intent of Starter Company Plus is to help people launch a new business or expand an existing business where other forms of financing are unavailable. Those working full-time in a separate field are not eligible. You may work part-time and still apply. A part-time job is defined as no more than 20 hours per week.

Starter Company Plus is a provincial program, but you must apply in the municipality where you reside and where your business is located. In the Kingston region, all applications are submitted to the Kingston Economic Development Corporation office.