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Student Entrepreneur Rakes in the Green

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Many high schoolers spend their summers hanging with friends or beginning their first jobs. But few students are ambitious enough to start their own business.

Young entrepreneur Carson Gaudry opted for a unique way to spend his summer vacation. He founded Carson’s Lawn Services to provide the Windsor area with quality maintenance and landscaping services. Gaudry is one of 20 Windsor-Essex students who participated in the Summer Company entrepreneur program in 2018. The program is delivered locally by the WindsorEssex Small Business Centre.

Summer Company is an Ontario government-funded program which provides full-time students aged 15-29 with the resources and training to start a new summer business. Youth receive hands-on business training, advice and mentorship from local business leaders. They also get $1,500 in start-up money and up to an additional $1,500 when they successfully complete the program.

Gaudry was encouraged to apply for Summer Company by his teacher, and through the support of friendly neighbours. “I took a business class offered by my school and my teacher inspired me to fill out the business plan. During the previous summer I took care of a few neighbour’s lawns and I enjoyed it, so I decided to start-up Carson’s Lawn Services,” said Gaudry.

While taking part in the program Gaudry learned how to manage and grow his business. “Throughout the program we took part in several mentorship sessions where we learned about managing our revenue, marketing strategies, how to find our target market and much more,” said Gaudry.

“One of my biggest surprises of owning and operating my business is the friendly and supportive clientele,” he said, adding, “I also like having the ability to create my own schedule, although it can be difficult to work around mother nature, especially during the school year.”

Mother nature is not the only obstacle faced by Gaudry, who found it difficult to find customers when he started the business. But through trial and error of various marketing activities he was able to grow his clientele significantly.

Having successfully completed the Summer Company program Gaudry offers his advice to future applicants. “I would recommend choosing something you have a passion for. Your business can be anything imaginable with the help and support of the Small Business Centre and your family. … there are always bumps in the road but none that you can't overcome.”

Gaudry was able to lean on the Small Business Centre for support throughout the entire process. “The Small Business Centre was there for me every step of the way, they have given me the guidance I needed and without them I wouldn't be able to call myself an entrepreneur,” stated Gaudry. “The Small Business Centre did not just guide us, but they encouraged us and had our best interest at heart. I truly appreciate all the help they have given me along the way.”

Based on the success of his venture, Gaudry continues to operate Carson’s Lawn Service on an on-going basis. Like Gaudry, over 7,000 students in Ontario have launched businesses through Summer Company since the program started in 2001.

Students interested in participating in Summer Company can fill out an application form online. The general program deadline for applications is May 19, and April 29 for Specialist High Skills Major co-op students.

 

Carson Gaudy is a client of the WindsorEssex Small Business Centre and received support and mentorship through our programs. You, too, can receive support in launching or expanding your small business. Contact the WindsorEssex Small Business Centre for more information.