Starter Company Plus program continues to support local entrepreneurs through COVID-19

Monday June 29, 2020 – The Thunder Bay & District Entrepreneur Centre (EC) is pleased to announce the successful entrepreneurs who will receive a $5000 grant through the second round of the 2020 Starter Company Plus program. The 2020 Starter Company Plus program, originally known as the Starter Company, is in its 6th year of operation and has been helping local entrepreneurs start up, expand, or buy their business. 

The second round of the program started just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit Canada and like the other programs administered by the Thunder Bay CEDC and the Entrepreneur Centre, the Starter Company Plus program went virtual. The curriculum for the program also changed, participants completed workshops on navigating the Covid-19 pandemic including managing cash flows, marketing, and operating remotely. Participants also had the opportunity to learn from local professionals in areas such as market research, insurance, law, and small business accounting.

“During such a difficult time for so many entrepreneurs, the Starter Company Plus program has been able to provide training, tools, and resources for businesses that were looking to start-up, expand, or pivot their businesses operations.” Says Kirsten Kabernick, Program Coordinator for Thunder Bay CEDC. ”The Entrepreneur Centre is impressed with the resiliency of the participants moving forward with their business goals and we are excited to see and support their success moving forward.”

The program is funded by the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade and is lead locally by the Thunder Bay & District Entrepreneur Centre. The goal of the program is to mentor and train local entrepreneurs who are looking to start up, expand or purchase an existing business. Once participants complete the 4-6 week program they are eligible to apply for a $5000 grant. Participants that are successful in receiving the grant are then paired with a mentor for 3 months.

“CEDC’s Starter Company Plus program provides an incredible opportunity for start-up businesses to develop and flourish within the community.” Says Shaye Mascarin of Ananda Studios. ”Not only does the funding cover various expenses, but during the Covid-19 pandemic it will help keep businesses afloat.”

The successful participants for the second round of the 2020 Starter Company Plus are as follows:

  1. Ananda Studios
  2. Greenstone-Superior Landscaping
  3. Jennifer Bull Physiotherapy
  4. Noles Media
  5. North Superior Art Therapy Services
  6. Rhonda’s Hair Design and Esthetics (soon to be 03/04 Beauty)
  7. The Nola Shop

The participants include four start-up business, two expansions, and one purchase of an existing business.

“The CEDC Board of Directors recently approved an additional $75,000 in funding to assist an additional 15 businesses to participate in the Starter Company Plus Program.” Eric Zakrewski, CEO of Thunder Bay CEDC stated. “The additional funding was provided as part of the CEDC’s Covid recovery plan to help local businesses grow and create jobs.”

With the additional funding, a total of 29 small businesses will benefit this year, the most in one period in the programs history.



Kirsten Kabernick, Program Coordinator, Thunder Bay CEDC, (807)625-3963,

Ryan More, Development Officer, Thunder Bay CEDC, (807) 625-3972, Email:

About CEDC:
The CEDC is responsible for business development, retention and expansion, entrepreneurial support, opportunity promotion, and the collection and assessment of key business data. The CEDC receives formal proposals for projects that will contribute to economic development. It responds quickly to new opportunities and initiatives to attract direct financial involvement from government and private sectors. For more information, visit

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