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APRIL 2010

STUDENTS, BE YOUR OWN BOSS THIS SUMMER! That’s the message EBRC Business Counsellor, Gord Hall, is taking to area high schools this spring. “Summer Company Program is a great way for students to have a summer job, make money for school, and really learn about the business world,” Gord tells audiences. The program allows students aged 15-29 who are going back to school to receive funding to turn their own business ideas into reality. Eligible students can receive funds up to $3,000 for their businesses with $1,500 provided in May-June to cover start-up costs. Students get to be their own boss and keep all money they make over the summer. Then the government provides up to an additional $1,500 for going back to school in September. “It’s very competitive and spots are limited,” says Gord. “Last year was our first year and we had a great response. Seeing how self-employment and entrepreneurship are quite popular in the area, we’re betting on record numbers of students applying.” he added. Gord helps administer the Self-Employment Benefit (SEB) program to adult participants; however, during the summer, Gord also counsels Summer Company Program students with business mentoring, completing detailed business plans, and applications for program submissions. lans and applications must be submitted to the Ontario government for approval and are reviewed as received. Space is limited. This year’s deadline is May 6, 2010.

If approved, students do not to go it alone! Local students approved for Summer Company receive 12 hours of business training and preparation from Gord at the EBRC. “We train students on setting up their business, helping with things like understanding cash flow, insurance, licensing, and more. After training, students have scheduled meetings and come back any time if they have questions. We like to see them succeed and we do what we can to help them,” says Gord. Last year, 12 local students were accepted into Summer Company with unique business ideas such as an illusionist, seamstress, and lawn care.

Visit or contact the EBRC’s Gord Hall at 519-6337597 ext. 39 to learn more about being your own boss this summer. INSIDE:

Business After 5 Networking Wednesdays St. Thomas-Elgin Business Expo Success Story: Dan Bolonga Buy Local, Buy Fresh Meet the Staff

2 2 2 3 4 4

SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS AFTER 5 Irish music from the Leprechauns rang through the Knights of Columbus Hall on St. Patty’s Day while a crowd of 200+ members of the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce mingled, ate, and had lots of fun. The EBRC hosted event was a big success with door prizes and the highlight of the night – a draw for a pot of gold containing $300 cash supplied by the EBRC. Brian Wilson from Brian Wilson Insurance Agencies won the cash. Congratulations Brian!

BRIGHT IDEA! GET $1050 IN FREE LIGHTING UPGRADES Get in on St. Thomas Energy Services POWER SAVINGS BLITZ incentive program to receive $1,050 in free lighting upgrades and water heating retrofits. ECM Controls is working with businesses across the city to help reduce their power consumption and save money! More than 1500 small St.Thomas businesses qualify – learn if you’re one of them! No assessment fees. All products and installations are free up to $1050. Call and get assessed:

1-877-66-BLITZ Then contact ECM Controls for installation:

(519) 633-7443

This is a paid advertisment for ECM Controls.

Licence No. 7000799

Brian Wilson receives his pot of gold cash from Gayle Bogart, EBRC Board of Directors President, while Susan Gardner, Past President, and John Regan, EBRC General Manager look on.

NETWORKING WEDNESDAYS Due to the St. ThomasElgin Business Expo, April’s Networking Wednesday meeting will take place on Saturday, April 24 at St. Anne’s Parish Centre. Subject:

HST Information Session

Please call the EBRC at 519-633-7597 ext. 27 to register for this informative session. May 26 Meeting – to be announced. Information not available at press time. Please call the centre for details.

The EBRC presents the 2010 St. Thomas-Elgin Business Expo! With 60+ businesses all in one spot, it’s a great opportunity for the public to learn about what local businesses have to offer. Drop by! This event is open to the public and absolutely free. St. Anne’s Parish Centre Saturday, April 24 11 am – 5 pm Don’t miss the HST Information Session to learn about this new tax, which takes effect in July. Register online or by calling 519-633-7597 ext 27.

Visit for more info.


A GROWING BUSINESS & A LIFE WELL PLANNED: DAN BOLONGA Years ago, Dan Bolonga purchased 10 sprawling acres of a nature lover’s paradise for his home and someday a thriving business. At the time, Dan worked at Sterling Trucks in St. Thomas and wasn’t happy with his job. Sterling was a quick, short-term answer, but far from what Dan envisioned over the long term – that’s where his acreage came in. With work experience in tree farming and landscaping, Dan hoped to eventually own his own tree farm for his retirement. Shortly after buying his land, Dan started planting his trees in preparation. In late 2008, Dan was laid off from Sterling, which brought his long-term plan to the forefront. Knowing the plant would soon close, Dan continued planting and making plans for his tree farm and in February 2009, sought the guidance of the EBRC and the Self Employment Benefit (SEB) program to help reach his goals. Dan met with Gord Hall, EBRC Business Counsellor. Though he knew what he wanted to do for years, Dan did not have a business plan in place. “I didn’t realize I actually needed one until I met with Gord,” Dan said. “A business plan puts things into perspective; it helps you review what you’ve accomplished and what you haven’t. It gives you focus.” Dan credits Gord and the SEB program for guiding him with his taxes and helping secure a small loan for his business. “I wasn’t eligible for EI and I didn’t want anything to stand in the way of my business taking off. The EBRC helped with that extra bit of funds.” Dan said. The EBRC helps guide new businesses like Dan’s with paperwork

Dan Bolonga and his dog, Gunnar; official farm greeter. Seven Sisters Tree Farm is located at the west end of Calton Road, which is RR #5 Aylmer, ON N5H 2R4 519-765-2755 or 519-857-3686 Open: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; 7 days a week

and dealing with bank loans. Often, when the banks do not come through, the EBRC is one of the only sources that will provide financing to qualified new businesses. Seven Sisters opened its rustic doors in April 2009 offering trees, shrubs, perennials, as well as full landscaping design services, including flagstone patios, boarders, walkways, fire pits, plus tree and hedge trimming, and tree removal. With less commercialism than his competitors, Dan has had no trouble attracting customers to his rural tree farm. In fact, a local elementary school class recently visited to learn about seeds and trees, choosing Seven Sisters because of its truly natural setting. Already this year, Dan has noticed several repeat customers coming up his lane. His advertising efforts are seasonal and will hit in the spring with ads in local papers plus signage along roadways. A new sign at the property’s entrance is also in the works. “People ask if I’m living my dream, but I don’t think dreams generally involve hard labour! But, it’s well worth it. I think I’m living my plan exactly the way I intended. This is what I wanted for years and now it’s finally happening.”

The SEB (Self-Employment Benefit) Program is funded through the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities.

PORK TENDERLOIN IN APPLE-THYME SAUCE A tasty pork dish for the holidays with local wine! 1 pork tenderloin 1 apple, cored, and cut in thin wedges 1 cup Rush Creek 1 tsp. dried thyme Spiced Apple Wine 1 tbsp. Salad oil 1 tbsp. butter Salt and pepper to taste 1 medium onion, cut in half crosswise, then sliced in thin wedges Directions: Slice pork tenderloin crosswise into half inch (1.25 cm) thick medallions. Marinate in wine at least two hours. Heat butter and oil in large skillet over medium heat until foamy. Reserving marinade, add pork. Sauté three to four minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove meat. Keep warm. Stir in onion, apple, and thyme, and sauté for one minute. Add marinade and meat and cook until liquid is reduced by half and meat is hot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 2-3 servings. Wendy and Kim Flintoff, Rush Creek Winery, Aylmer. Flavours of Elgin IPM 2010 cookbook. Cookbook available at the EBRC.

MEET THE STAFF: ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT, DEBRA WEBSTER Debra Webster is the official EBRC greeter as her work area is the first stop for any individual entering the building. This location is a constant hub of activity with Debra answering questions and directing traffic for the EBRC, plus other businesses on the premises. Her almost 30 years of administrative and clerical experience in healthcare and manufacturing have proven invaluable as she provides support services to all these businesses and keeps everyone running smoothly. Debra Webster, Administrative Assistant, EBRC can be reached at or 519-633-7597 extension 26.

Debra joined the EBRC four years ago, expanding her experience to include the not-for-profit sector. “This is the most rewarding job,” Debra said. “At the EBRC, I meet people from all walks of life who want to make their business ideas reality. It’s really great to watch it happen.”

The SEB (Self-Employment Benefit) Program is funded through the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities. The Elgin Advantage is brought to you by the Elgin Business Resource Centre in cooperation with:

If you would like to see a story covered in the Elgin Advantage, please let us know by forwarding your information to: 300 South Edgeware Rd St Thomas, ON N5P 4L1 (519) 633-7597 or Limited ad space is available. Please call for rates.

The EBRC is a proud sponsor of the Elgin-St.Thomas 2010 International Plowing Match:

The Elgin Advantage April 2010  

The Elgin Advantage April 2010

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