Summer Company is a program of the Government of Ontario that helps young people between 15 and 29 years old start and run their own summer business by providing funding, advice, and services.

Learning how to run your own student business is one of the best summer jobs you can have. You get to be your own boss while learning what it takes to manage a business. Sales, marketing, invoicing, bookkeeping, customer relations, management — these are just a few of the highly useful skills you will develop.

Accepted Summer Company Applicants Receive:

  1. An award of up to $3,000
    1. a first payment of up to $1,500 for start-up costs
    2. a second payment of up to $1,500 once you’ve successfully completed the program
  2. Hands-on coaching
  3. Mentoring from business leaders in your community, and from your program provider
  4. Profits generated through the operation of your business

Ready to apply? Have questions? Call Mike at 519-631-1680 ext 4504. 


Starter Company Plus is a program of the Government of Ontario that helps people over the age of 18 to start their own business, buy, or expand an existing business.

Starter Company Plus Provides:

  1. Training, and coaching through the Small Business Enterprise Centre
  2. Advice and mentorship from local business leaders to help get your business up and running
  3. The option to apply for start-up money to kick off a new business, or expand your current business*
  4. Experience of running a successful business that may help you obtain more traditional business financing in the future

* You may be eligible for up to $5,000 in grant funding based on the strength of your business plan, economic impact (jobs created), and long term sustainability.

Interested in this program? Call 519-631-1680 ext 4503, or email


GROW is growing.

This partnership between the Elgin/St. Thomas Small Business Enterprise Centre and Fanshawe College Elgin/ St. Thomas began as a pop up shop in the West End of Downtown St. Thomas. Based on use and feedback we have transformed the program into an accelerator model allowing for a 3 – 6 month term at the location FREE of rent and access to business coaches. The overall goal of an accelerator model is to provide opportunity to scale into a more permanent retail space or model. It helps to fill the in between stage a business may go through during growth.

The accelerator is located in the Caboose at the Jumbo Memorial at 65 Talbot St., St. Thomas.

Small Businesses and Artists are invited to request application information by contacting Sarah at

Read the News!

Through this partnership we have also been able to work with Railway City Tourism to create the Railway City Arts Crawl Shop. This is a commission-free online marketplace for Elgin County and St. Thomas Artists to sell their work. Artists interested in using this tool should visit the Railway City Arts Crawl online. Click on the images below for the “10 Steps” to the Arts Carwl Market Place.


Are you currently receiving Ontario Works assistance?

Interested in starting your own business?

Do you have the necessary skills & experience?

Then the Ontario Works Self Employment Program may be for you!

The Elgin-St Thomas Ontario Works office, in conjunction with the Elgin/St Thomas Small Business Enterprise Centre, offers a program that assists participants in becoming self-employed.

The Ontario Works Self Employment Program is designed to help clients start and operate their businesses by providing business planning workshops and advisory support.

In the program, you will:

  1. Create a successful plan to start/grow your business
  2. Enhance your business skills
  3. Gain access to helpful resources
  4. Develop business contacts

Ready to apply? Contact your Ontario Works caseworker for a referral to an OW Self Employment Program orientation session.



Impact Loan is on a mission to build lives and community by connecting entrepreneurs to human, social, and financial capital.

What is Impact Loan?

Impact Loan is a microloan program delivered by Goodwill Industries with a focus on creating a platform for entrepreneurs to become self-sufficient. Impact Loan offers loans of up to $5,000 to new, or expanding businesses. Impact Loan also provides business supports such as mentorship, and coaching to give entrepreneurs the best chance of success.


Individuals may be eligible for an Impact Loan if they do not have access to traditional business financing.

We also look for individuals that:

  1. Have a business idea and the passion to act on it
  2. Are committed to developing a business plan
  3. Have skills that can generate self-employment income
  4. (or) Already run a business and are looking to expand

For more information, email or call 519-631-1680 ext 4503.


Offered monthly, group mentoring is an opportunity to connect with local industry leaders as well as other small business owners to learn together. Check out our Events Page for more details. With a network of mentors from a variety of local industries, we would also be happy to make introductions based on your needs.

For more information, email or call 519-631-1680 ext 4503.


With the support of Libro Credit Union we are pleased to offer the Prosper Self Employment Program to reduce unemployment among our most vulnerable and low-income populations. This offers additional support and training to better assist clients receiving Ontario Disability Program or Ontario Works funding or those who are Newcomers.

For more information, email or call 519-631-1680 ext 4503.





378 Talbot St.
St. Thomas, ON Canada
N5R 3L7

519-631-1680 ext 4503

“Creating an ecosystem where small businesses in Elgin County and St. Thomas can connect, learn and grow their business.”







8:30 AM – 4:30 PM

8:30 AM – 4:30 PM

8:30 AM – 4:30 PM

12:00 PM – 8:00 PM

8:30 AM – 4:30 PM

MON: 8:30A – 4:30P

TUES: 8:30A – 4:30P

WED: 8:30A – 4:30P

THURS: 12P – 8:00P

FRI: 8:30A – 4:30P