To save money for college, this summer Chanelle Larche has been putting her sewing machine to work.
The 15-year-old Ecole secondaire catholique Theriault student started a seamstress business through the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade’s Summer Company program. She was one of eight students in the region to take part in the program run through the Business Enterprise Centre.
At the final day for the Urban Park downtown Timmins, Larche brought some of the coats she’s made to sell.
There, she explained how she spent the summer doing different things, from fixing clothes to hemming curtains.
One of the most challenging pieces was working on a wedding dress.
She said it took about five days to take it in, hem, put on beads and add a lift in the back.
Larche has been sewing since Grade 7 and has even been to competitions, so focusing on it was a natural fit for her summer business.
While it’s been a good experience, once school starts, she said she’ll be focusing on her studies.
Business Enterprise Centre entrepreneurship program coordinator Chantal Ouellette said the other student businesses this summer included mini doughnuts, lawn care, woodworking, roasting coffee beans, and selling frozen treats.
The program helps participants start the business with the help of a $3,000 grant.
This year’s entrepreneurs were based in Timmins, Kapuskasing and Cochrane.
“All of them really appreciated and understood what it’s like to really start a business and be in charge of absolutely everything and just dealing with your finances, dealing with your hours, marketing, getting more clients, stuff like that, they were all able to experience that,” Ouellette said. “I think it was really valuable for them, and I think that most of them are actually going to keep on doing their businesses for the summers to come.”
If the program is being offered again next year, applications usually open up in December. For students who are interested, they can also contact the Business Enterprise Centre at the end of the year for information.