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Students Forgo Traditional Summer Jobs for Entrepreneurship

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Eighteen Windsor-Essex students are joining hundreds others across the province as first-time entrepreneurs in the annual Summer Company program.

Summer Company is an Ontario government program which provides young people with the resources and training to start a new summer business.  Full-time students, aged 15-29, receive hands-on business training, advice, and mentorship, from local business leaders, as well as a grant of $3,000.

Since 2001, over 7,800 students in Ontario have launched businesses through Summer Company.  Approximately 500 people will be enrolled this summer.

The WindsorEssex Small Business Centre is working with a variety of new student businesses that provide services and products, such as videography, fashion, landscaping, boat cleaning, audio recording, tutoring, 3D printing, and property management.  The WindsorEssex Small Business Centre is delighted to highlight some of the unique Summer Company startups they are working with:

ADAM HYSLOP: Show Boat Cleaning Services

Adam spent four years cleaning boats for his former boss before recognizing there was an opportunity to market his services.

“I realized, in his marina, there’s a serious need for people like me to clean and detail yachts and boats, because a lot of people value their leisure time a lot more than their time to [maintain] the boat,” said Hyslop, a 22-year-old business and computer science student at the University of Windsor.

“I had the skill set, and I was able to capitalize on that to start the business.  Within the first two months, I’ve been extremely busy.”

The demand for his services was more than anticipated, and now Hyslop is looking to hire.

Hyslop credits Summer Company with giving him the resources, help and outlook to start up Show Boat Cleaning Services.

“The (Summer Company) speakers … are phenomenal.  They were in our shoes as well, so they know what we’re going through and have answers to our tough questions,” he said.  “I’ve been very fortunate to be able to be part of this.”

BEN ARQUETTE: Printable Canada

Printable Canada is a 3D printing, modelling, and design, company headed by 18-year-old Ben Arquette and his friend Liam Gleason.  The Grade 12 Assumption College Catholic High School students were finalists in a nationwide contest called Make Your Pitch for young entrepreneurs this spring.

Arquette explained how the business idea came about: “My friend is really into art and 3D animation, which ties into 3D modeling.  I’m really into computers.  [Gleason] had a small, personal [3D] printer … and I was interested and offered to chip in and buy a more industrial printer so that we could fulfill orders.”

Printable Canada manufactures a wide variety of tools, hardware, technology, art, games, and other goods for customers.

“If someone has a prototype or design, they can rent out my printer and I’ll print their design for them and let them know if there’s any errors in the design to be printed,” said Arquette.

So far Printable Canada has produced motor and GoPro camera mounts and model trains.  They are looking at printing industrial components in the future.

Arquette shared what he loves about entrepreneurism and Summer Company: “The excitement of being your own boss, and the awesome insight from [Summer Company trainers] who have done everything you have before is invaluable.”


University of Windsor psychology student, Rachel Barrette, 21, opened Sip de Soleil smoothie stand this summer in response to a lack of healthy drink options in her neighbourhood.

“Belle River has been a very up-and-coming little town.  Slowly the beach is becoming beautiful and the marina is hopping.  But what I figured was missing was a healthy alternative to a smoothie shop, so I decided to open one.  It’s been really successful so far,” said Barrette.

Sip de Soleil is located at 643 Notre Dame St. in Belle River.  Customers can walk-up to the beachside stand and grab healthy, vegan smoothies in fun varieties such as Cherry Bomb, ChocoLIT D-LITe, and Takes 2 to Mango.

“There’s so much more to starting a business than you realize.  It’s very much a process,” said Barrette.

Summer Company classes provides a big support for her business.  “I love it so far.  I find leaving (the Small Business Centre), I’m always uplifted and inspired.  It’s not like a class I would dread coming to … I get to connect with other entrepreneurs that are likeminded and excited.”


Adam Hyslop, Ben Arquette and Rachel Barrette are WindsorEssex Small Business Centre clients participating in the Summer Company student entrepreneurship program.  They received training, mentorship, and $3,000, to start a summer business.  You, too, can receive support in launching or expanding your small business.  Contact the WindsorEssex Small Business Centre for more information.