$5,000 grants available for entrepreneurs with new businesses

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City of St. Catharines press release – Like most entrepreneurs, starting up his Downtown St. Catharines restaurant started as a dream for Josh Boycott.

With a little creativity, a lot of hard work and support from the St. Catharines Enterprise Centre (SCEC), Boycott brought his dream of a new dining experience on St. Paul Street to life and with the opening of Ludology Boardgame Café in 2018.

“The guidance from the St. Catharines Enterprise Centre helped me considerably in the beginning with advertising, budgeting, hiring practices and accounting,” said Boycott. “They also helped me with my business plan, cash flow and pitching the business to others.”

The Enterprise Centre, the City’s small business support centre, offers entrepreneurs across Niagara the tools, information and resources they need to help launch and grow their businesses. The Enterprise Centre supported Boycott through Starter Company Plus, a provincial program helping entrepreneurs be successful in running their new businesses still in their first year of operation with training, mentorship and a $5,000 grant.

“The grant helped me to build Ludology’s extensive games library, something I wouldn’t have been unable to do without the program,” said Boycott. “Starter Company and the Enterprise Centre is definitely contributing to the success of my business.”

Designed to support entrepreneurs at the start-up phase or within their first year of operation, Starter Company Plus is part of the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and is available to those over the age of 18. Anyone interested in participating in Starter Company Plus can apply at www.stcatharines.ca/StarterCompanyPlus by Friday, Nov. 8. Eligible applicants will be invited to participate in business training and will be coached on the development of a business plan.

“Starter Company Plus participants will benefit from our business training seminars and learning from local business leaders who have been through ups and downs of growing a new business,” said Rob Belchior, small business consultant at the Enterprise Centre, adding after participants complete the program they become eligible to pitch their businesses for a limited number of grants up to $5,000.

“Thirty-one participants received grants during our last round of Starter Company Plus and most have celebrated their two-year anniversaries which is a huge milestone for small businesses.”

Belchior encourages entrepreneurs to learn more about the St. Catharines Enterprise Centre and Starter Company Plus at two upcoming information sessions:

  • Monday, Oct. 21/2019, 11 a.m. to noon; Welland Job Gym (225 East Main St., Welland)
  • Tuesday, Oct. 22/2019, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.; St. Catharines Enterprise Centre (14 Ontario St.)

Entrepreneurs can also contact the SCEC at 905.688.5601 ext. 1767 or email enterprisecentre@stcatharines.ca for more information.