Norfolk SSUP accepting applications for summer season

The selection process for Norfolk’s Student Start-up Program (SSUP) will focus on 10 successful applicants. Among last summer’s participants were Gwen McFarland, left, of Windham Centre, and Emily Koning, of Brantford, who capitalized on the fad for recreational dry “slime” under the banner Gwemily Slimes. File photo/Postmedia Network

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Norfolk County has refined its search for the young entrepreneurs of the future.

Norfolk’s tourism and economic development department has again opened the floor to applications under its Student Start-up Program (SSUP).

The difference this time around is quality will drive the selection process.

In years past, SSUP has sprinkled start-up capital among dozens of student participants.

But the short-list this year will be whittled down to 10 applications under a new “merit-based system.”

Managers of the SSUP program ask aspiring entrepreneurs to draw up a business plan and submit it to the county by June 17. Norfolk’s tourism and economic development advisory board will announce the successful applicants June 21.

Eligible students are in Grades 6 through 12 and must be residents of Norfolk County.

Previous SSUP grant recipients do not qualify.

Along with the business plan and application, parents and guardians must sign indemnity waivers and approve the use and publication of a photo upon acceptance into the program.

Norfolk’s tourism and economic development department came up with the SSUP concept several years ago as a means of encouraging young people to start their own businesses.

Market-place events will be held this summer where students can sell their wares, promote their businesses, and learn something about what it takes to satisfy consumer demand while turning a profit.

Eight market-place events are scheduled. SSUP participants can collect $50 from the county per market event to a maximum of $100.

“A mentorship and networking event will be held Aug. 8 to give students the opportunity to share their experience, outline their challenges, and celebrate their success thus far,” Christina Lounsbury, a customer service representative in the tourism and economic development department, said in a memo to Norfolk council.

SSUP runs over July and August. At the end of August, participating students who file a written report on the performance of their business are eligible for an additional bonus of $100.

“The program provides real-world experience in business and exposes young people to an alternative of being an employee or the ability to offset part-time work,” Lounsbury says.

“They have the opportunity to be creative and follow their dreams.”

Norfolk’s tourism and economic development department is bracing for an avalanche of applications. The call for applications has been promoted in 26 elementary and secondary schools in Norfolk, on the county’s website and media platforms, in newsletters and on electronic signage around the county.

The county is receiving on-line applications at