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Starter Company Plus program graduates 18 entrepreneurs

Successful participants earned a $5,000 grant to help get their business off the ground or to expand.
Danielle Amanda CEDC Starter Company Plus
Amanada Salerno and Danielle Rider of Dorset Pier Mental Health accept a $5,000 cheque after completing the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission's Starter Company Plus Program (submitted)

THUNDER BAY – Eighteen small businesses in Thunder Bay have earned equal shares of $90,000 in Starter Company Plus program grants to help get them off the ground or grow.  

The Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission said each company, which completed the program, will get $5,000, money which is supported through the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.

It’s a great way to give young businesses a boost, especially during trying times, said CEDC CEO Eric Zakrewski.

“Being able to support the continuous growth of our small business community is crucial to the success and recovery of our local economy,” Zakrewski said in a release.

He added the program continues to grow.

“Last year our board of directors approved additional funding to ensure more entrepreneurs were able to participate in the program and were supported through the pandemic,” Zakrewski said.

“Along with high participation rates we are seeing some of our highest application numbers as well. With interest continuing to grow, the CEDC looks forward to supporting more local businesses and entrepreneurs through a strong recovery.”  

The program aims to mentor and train local entrepreneurs looking to start a business or expand or purchase an existing business.

Workshops include market research, labour and employment law, insurance, wealth management and social media marketing.

Participants are mentored by a local business professional.

Among the latest recipients – there have been 35 in total since the program began – was Dorset Pier Mental Health.

Owner Danielle Rider said she is grateful for the program.

“The opportunity to attend a variety of information sessions that spoke to different areas of business development was valuable in our understanding and development of our practice. The grant is being used to fund our website and brand development – a much-needed component of our business plan,” Rider said.

The latest 18 participants included 15 start-ups and three expansions.

Successful participants included:

  • Awesome Earth
  • Big Sack Co.
  • Northern Heights Co.
  • One Time Brew
  • Shumka Dust
  • Sociable Thunder Bay
  • Stony Wilds
  • Wildwood Cafe And
  • Allam Heating & Cooling Ltd.
  • Dorset Pier Mental Health
  •  Fantastico Foods
  •  Jennifer’s Gluten-Free Kitchen
  • North Shore Puzzles
  • OPT IN HR
  • Such a Nice Day (S.A.N.D) Adventures
  • The Refill Co.
  •  Waxxed Candle Co.
  • Zuback Chiropractic and Rehab


Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith has been the editor of Thunder Bay Source for 19 years and has served a similar role with TBNewsWatch.com since 2009. Wants his Expos back. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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