Thunder Bay CEDC Board of Directors boost Starter Company Plus program

The Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission Board of Directors recently approved an additional $50,000 in grants for the Starter Company Plus program. The funding was approved through the Economic Development Reserve Fund (EDRF), which aims to support local projects and initiatives that create jobs and stimulate business. The additional funds will allow ten more entrepreneurs to go through the program with each receiving a $5,000 grant.

“This additional support for new start-ups from our  Board comes at a crucial time in Thunder Bay’s economic recovery from the pandemic. As we move through the stages of reopening, now is the best time to invest in our business community,” states Eric Zakrewski, CEO, Thunder Bay CEDC. “As many know, the pandemic has impacted small businesses and we must support these crucial, organic parts of our long-term local economy now more than ever. The Starter Company Plus program is a great tool for entrepreneurs to create or expand a sustainable business, create new jobs and by further supporting this program, we can ensure Thunder Bay’s economy remains diverse and continues to grow.” 

Over the last year, the Entrepreneur Centre received over 120 applications for the Starter Company Plus program. With the program in such high demand, the Entrepreneur Centre needed to explore options to secure additional funding to assist local entrepreneurs looking to start-up or expand. The additional ten grants are estimated to create 18 new local jobs, support $789,000 in annual wages and drive approximately $315,000 into Thunder Bay’s economy.

The program’s goal is to mentor and train local entrepreneurs who are looking to start up, expand or purchase an existing business. Participants complete workshops relating to market research, labour and employment law, insurance, wealth management, and social media marketing.

“The Starter Company Plus Program proved to be a valuable learning experience. The workshops and one-on-one counselling services further developed my business offerings. As an entrepreneur, I am grateful for the opportunity to receive the grant portion and invest in my small business,” states Mercedes Maarup of Abstract Business Consulting. “Access to this type of funding means that I am able to focus on marketing and purchase much-needed software for my business. I truly appreciate the opportunity to be a part of Starter Company Plus, and I am grateful to the CEDC, especially Kirsten, for the continuous support throughout the program. “ 


Applications for the Starter Company Plus program are currently open for the next round of programming, and those interested may apply by visiting the CEDC website:

Applications close August 18, 2021.

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