Ingleside ON – As an introduction to my report on the Self Employment Assistance program I thought I would report on the South Stormont Chamber of Commerce Home and Trade show and the number of SEA graduates who participated in the event as vendors.
Of the 48 vendors that were there I counted 6 that were graduates of the program as are shown in the pictures.
The program is efficiently run under Deborah MacKay, the VP of Academic Operations for St. Lawrence College through a contract awarded by the Ministry of Training, Colleagues, and Universities. This program is funded by the Ontario government. Also, you may qualify for the program if you are currently on EI, or have been on EI within the last 36 months or on parental leave within the last 60 months.
Ted Marsolais – Unique Gift Finder – 613-405-0564
. Also know as the Gadget Guy, Ted deals in unique gift ideas for men. Some of the items that Ted has includes pro logo toasters, motorized beer coolers and a golf club weed wacker. You get the idea. He does have some items in stock right now but he is building his inventory and trying to source products that will be unique to his company.
.Ted plans to market his products through trade shows and flea markets but he will source specific items for you. He is currently working on a web site but you can call him at the phone number above or email him at email@example.com .
.Ted found out about the SEA program on-line through the St. Lawrence College website. He was directed to JobZone in Cornwall and had no problem being accepted into the program. Ted found the process of developing a Business Plan to be very helpful, in particular the research and marketing aspects of it.
Helen Huang – Truly Impressed Gifts – www.truly-impressed.com
Helen finished the 8 week classroom portion of the program on November 5th last year. Her business is to imprint images on personal gifts such as mugs, key chains, mousepads, t-shirts, etc. I bought a dozen mouse pads with my business cards printed on them from her. She does a great job.
Helen is new to Canada so she found that the program was very helpful in showing her how to start a business here. She said that she might not have opened a business without the program. The most important part of the program for Helen was the marketing information and the interaction with her fellow entrepreneurs.
Steve Walsh + Associates – 613-535-2068
. The last of my interviewees was Steve Walsh. Steve calls himself a “Cloud Computing Consultant”. He spent quite a while with me trying to explain what Cloud Computing was and I understood it at the time. However, it is a month later and my notes don’t make a lot of sense now. It appears that it is a social and marketing paradigm where you can use applications and services over the internet on a pay as you go basis. I hope I got that right Steve. I may have to take a course from you to fully grasp it. Do you teach seniors?
Steve said that in his opinion the most important part of the program was the focus on building a business plan. He said “until you’ve done one you don’t realize how critical it is” and it “allows you to peer into the heart of a business.”
He also believes that the classroom environment encouraged networking and making connections with the other participants. It also gave him a view of different business models. One of the more uncomfortable aspects of the program was designing and conducting the required customer survey but it also was a valuable experience that provided important information.