The Venture Investment Program recently presented $200 cheques and business licences to five VIPs – local students who applied for and received start-up money for their businesses.
The five are:
- recent LSS grad Melissa Graham, who makes and sells hand-crafted feather earrings. She is on Facebook at Hand Crafted Feather Accessories by Melissa and will be going to TRU, where she plans to continue to run her business from Kamloops.
- Davis Williams, 12, who will be running a lawn-mowing business this summer in Xwisten and Lillooet.
- Brandon Hoy, 14. Last year, Brandon marketed his own cookbook and dry rub through the Venture Investment Program, earning a $200 profit. This year, he intends to run a food stand at the Farmers’ Market and sell barbecued meat, salad and rice.
- Saqa7 Thevarge, 13, is pinning his hopes on a popsicle business, which he thinks is a good summer business.
- John Spencer, who is planning to run a coffee business at the Farmers’ Market.
The Venture Investment Program is open to students in Grades 7 to 12 who are attending school in Lillooet. Applicants are required to fill out a form that identifies their potential customers and competition and includes their business information, a monthly cash flow forecast. They must also provide a final report at the end of August outlining the successes, challenges and lessons learned while running their businesses.
The program’s main sponsors are the District of Lillooet, which provides business licensing and business support; and Community Futures Sun Country, which provides funding.
Other partners include the BC Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation, which reviews the applications and provides funding; the Lillooet and District Chamber of Commerce, which pays a $100 bonus to one outstanding student summer business; Hub International Barton Insurance Brokers and Interior Savings Credit Union, who co-sponsor an awards luncheon for the young VIPs; and the Bridge River-Lillooet News, which provides an ad for each young entrepreneur.
After presenting the students with their gold-stamped businesses licences, Economic Development Officer Jerry Sucharyna and Bylaw Enforcement Officer Erick Davidson offered some tips on running a business and noted some of the paramaters the students will have to operate within. Parameters obtaining permission before setting up a street vendor business or a business at Seton Lake, having Food Safe certification where required and budgeting for the cost of operating a booth at the Farmers’ Market.
“We look at all businesses as being equal, so the kids, just because they are youths, it doesn’t mean they follow different parameters,” Sucharyna told the News.