Creating student entrepreneurs
Past projects include ice cream stands and adventure tours

by Nancy Gardiner
Northern News Services

NNSL (Mar 12/97) - Students looking for summer jobs might want to forego pounding the pavement and the accompanying flat arches and mittful of rejection letters.

Thanks to the Student Business Loans program, students can launch their own summer businesses with loans up to $3,000.

Students in high school, community college and university can take advantage the program. The $3.6-million program is run by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) in collaboration with Human Resources Development Canada.

Last year, NWT students started up a hot dog stand, bought an ice cream vending cart and offered adventure tours, including canoeing the rapids and snowmobiling tours, says Jim Harrison, the manager of special accounts for the program in Winnipeg.

Some of the more unusual jobs in Canada have included videotaping people's possessions for insurance purposes, dog-walking services and cleaning garages or cars.

Harrison says the program helps students determine if they have the aptitude and skills to be an entrepreneur and it also gives them some money for school in the fall.

Students must be planning to return to school in the fall and be at least 15 years old.

The loans are available as of April 1 and are on a first-come, first-served basis until June 20.

"Students run a variety of summer businesses from computer camps to retailing to tourism," says Norm Oakley, a BDC spokesman.

"Running a summer business provides invaluable learning opportunities and helps develop skills such as planning, organizing and managing."

Last year, 1,338 loans worth $3.6 million were provided to students, who created 2,539 summer jobs.

Students are required to submit detailed plans for a viable business. To ensure viability, the BDC offers counselling and training to help students.

The loans are interest free until Oct. 3.

The Student Business Loans program is available in the NWT and Yukon, as well as Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec and Newfoundland. Provincial programs are available in the other provinces.

Students can learn more about the program through on-campus visits by BDC staff.