On June 10, I attended the 2010 Halton Region RBC Business Plan Competition to offer congratulations to the participants on behalf of Regional Council.
In attendance that night to help honour the promising young business leaders of tomorrow were Kevin Flynn, MPP Oakville, Elizabeth Cornish, Regional Advisor, Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, and Marilynn Roch, RBC, Sales Manager, South Halton Market.
I truly believe in the efforts of Halton’s young entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are an important part of our economy. According to Statistics Canada, Halton Region was the location of choice for 37,501 enterprises in December 2009. Over the past ten years, there has been a 55 per cent increase in the number of enterprises in Halton. Growth was led by “micro-businesses,” businesses that have fewer than 5 employees. These increased 64 per cent since 1999. Overall, 82 per cent of Halton companies are micro-businesses and, of those, 71 per cent are self-employed individuals.
Young entrepreneurs such as Elyse Simpson, a grade 12 student at Iroquois Ridge High School, and the young people who were honoured, represent the future. For those of you who don’t know, Elyse is the owner of Jangle Records and was the 2009 Business Plan Competition Winner, a Summer Company Participant, and a Top 20 under 20 Award Recipient.
Through our Small Business Centre and other services, we are proud to support these future entrepreneurs and provide them with tools to help them succeed. Located in the Regional Administrative Building, the Centre offers seminars, resources, e-learning tutorials and consultations. Residents and entrepreneurs can also attend Halton seminars at their local libraries, and in North Halton they can take advantage of the monthly Consultant-on-Site program for one-on-one consultations. In the past 10 years, the Halton Small Business Centre has responded to over 65,500 inquiries and met with over 6,800 clients in one-on-one consultations.
We provide these services because we value the contributions of small business in Halton. We’re dedicated to assisting today’s entrepreneurs. We are also committed to supporting the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
This is the ninth year we have hosted the Halton Region RBC Business Plan Competition with our partners at the Ontario government and at RBC Royal Bank. The competition gives secondary school students hands-on business planning experience and the chance to win financial awards. More importantly, the competition instils a sense of pride in the accomplishments of these young people. It helps them build the confidence they need to take control of their own destinies.
Four Halton-area high schools participated in this year’s competition: Abbey Park High School in Oakville; Appleby College in Oakville; Nelson High School in Burlington; and Holy Trinity Catholic Secondary School, Oakville.
I’d like to thank the teachers from these schools who helped their students develop their plans. Your guidance and support are invaluable to these young people, and likely a key factor in their success.
Thank you also to the people from our business community who volunteered their time to review and judge the submissions: David Ernst from MCAN Communications, John Stevenson from the Halton Business Advisory Group along with our own Paul deBurger, Business Consultant with Halton Region Economic Development.
I would especially like to recognize the support of RBC Royal Bank, the official sponsor of our local Business Plan Competition, and the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade who developed this and other youth entrepreneurship programs.
I’d like to recognize each student who submitted a business plan this year. I hope this competition has given you an idea of what it’s like to be your own boss, and I encourage you to continue to make the most of your opportunities.
Gary Carr is the Regional Chair of Halton – which consists of Oakville, Burlington, Milton and Halton Hills. Contact Chair Carr by telephone at 905-825-6115 and by email at email@example.com