Hot summertime biz

Young entrepreneur earns money for schooling

By Entrepreneurship Expert Roger Pierce,

With an abundance of energy, fresh ideas and unbridled enthusiasm, young people make great entrepreneurs. “I just can’t see the point in working for someone else,” shares entrepreneur Tom Brown.

A student entrepreneur, Brown owns Platinum Lawn Care & Landscaping (647-502-8355 or email

His company performs landscaping and maintenance work for home owners in York Region. They do grass cutting, gardening, install decks, patios and stone walls. In the winter, the company will also provide snow removal services.

Although he’s been doing gardening and grass cutting since he was 13 years old, Brown, now 16, has officially launched his business with a little help from the Government of Ontario.

He was accepted into The Summer Company Program where he received start-up training, support and $1500 to help launch his business. The program is designed to help full-time students earn money for their studies by running their own summertime businesses.

Brown believes it’s never too early to become an entrepreneur. “I think I’m learning a lot more about business than I could by working in a regular job,” he says.

He’s part of a growing number of young people venturing solo. In fact, 30 percent of all small businesses launched in Canada are owned by young people under the age of 30.

“I’ve learned that running a business isn’t always easy,” Brown admits. “There’s lots of behind-the-scenes work that needs to be done. I’ve also learned that quoting the lowest price isn’t always the most important factor…providing a quality product or service is more important to customers.”

Planning to continue building his business every summer, Brown is currently shopping financing options to acquire a new truck and trailer so he can expand his market.

Despite its challenges, Brown says the most fulfilling part of self-employment is client satisfaction. “We try to provide our customers with the most beautiful property on their street and, when we’re done, I enjoy seeing them smile.”


With Roger Pierce

Advice for young start-ups

You don’t have to wait for those first grey hairs to start your own small business. In fact, almost one third of all new businesses in Canada today are launched by people under the age of 30.

Some very successful companies have been started by young people who just couldn’t stomach the thought of working in a regular job. If you’re a young person considering venturing into your own business, consider this advice:

  • Find a program. There are a few excellent programs available for young entrepreneurs in Canada. Contact your local Small Business Enterprise Centre within City Hall about The Summer Company Program offered by the Government of Ontario. The non-profit Canadian Youth Business Foundation ( offers a start-up program for people 18 to 35 years old that includes mentoring, training and financing up to $15000.
  • Get a mentor. It helps to have access to a seasoned business owner with a few of those grey hairs. Approach a business person in your community and ask to meet with him or her monthly.
  • Start small. You’ve got the rest of your life to build your business, so begin with something manageable. Don’t launch a business that requires too much start-up money or that’s too complicated. Service-based businesses are easiest and fastest to get going.

Entrepreneurship Expert Roger Pierce advises start-ups at


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