Ontario Teen Supplies Wood to Local Campgrounds
Brooke, Ontario, area resident Riley Peters has already learned some valuable lessons since starting up his summer company, RP Cedar & Pine, a month ago.
Riley, who is selling firewood to supply local campgrounds and campers, was one of six local students selected for the 2011 Summer Company experience in Lanark County/North Leeds, by the Lanark North Leeds Small Business Enterprise Center, the Perth EMC, Smiths Falls, reported.
Along with the satisfaction of being his own boss, Riley, who will be going into Grade 12 at Perth and District Collegiate Institute this fall, has learned a lot about the economic realities of operating a business. With the costs of equipment (a new chainsaw and safety gear) and license, as well as insurance, the $1,500 provided to each young entrepreneur to cover start-up costs was quickly spent. The cheapest insurance available for the two months the company is operating cost $430.
"I had to cut into my profits to pay the insurance," said Riley.
"It's a reality check for him," added Riley's father, Les. "There are a lot of decisions to make."
Riley said although the business isn't exactly booming, it isn't "sitting still" either. "It was slow at first, and then the past couple of weeks I made a little over $300," he said.
Fortunately for Riley, a neighbor who has a sawmill said he can have whatever wood he needs. He sells mostly cedar and pine slat wood. He started a similar project last year, not as an official business, but something on the side "to make a few dollars here and there."
RP Cedar & Pine has a ready-made market to supply, with several campgrounds, including Christie Lake Cottages and Resort, Tay River Tent & Trailer Park, and McGowan Lake Campground, within three miles of Riley's home.
Les said the job of cutting enough wood to keep up with demand in the recent hot weather has been hard. "It's good for him, though," he said. "He knows things don't come easy."
Riley said he became aware of the opportunity to start a summer company when Shannon Derbyshire of the Lanark-North Leeds Small Business Centre made a presentation at his school.
The Summer Company Program is an initiative of the Ontario Government and is in place to motivate and educate young people to possibly choose entrepreneurship as a viable career, equip them with the tools necessary to succeed and provide hands-on business training and mentoring. Summer Company is aimed at students between the ages of 15-29 in school and returning to school in the fall. The successful students receive an award of up to $1,500 to help with business start-up costs, and a $1,500 award in September upon returning to school, approximately 12 hours of business training, and an opportunity to meet with a local community-mentoring group for support and advice on operating their summer business.
The program is in its 11th year promoting entrepreneurship to young enterprising students. This year, the six local students will be in good company with approximately 600 other young entrepreneurs across the province.