A taco shop, a brewery and a bakery.

Those are just three of the nine businesses local entrepreneurs are receiving grants for through the Stratford Perth Centre for Business.

$35,000 is coming from the Starter Company Plus program, funded by the Province of Ontario and the Ministry of Economic, Development, Job Creation and Trade, for the entrepreneurs.

The participating entrepreneurs received six weeks of business education and they’ll get continued support through the centre.

Program Graduates:

Alondra Galvez, El Cactus Taco Shop: A graduate of the Stratford Chef School, Alondra is opening El Cactus Taco Shop, a unique taco bar soon to be located on Ontario Street in downtown Stratford. Drawing from her Mexican roots, Alondra saw a need in the market and participated in the Starter Company Plus program to launch her new taco bar with a focus on take-out. Website under construction.

Amanda Modaragamage, Stratford Visiting Foot Care: Amanda’s unique business model and experience as an Advanced Foot Care Nurse offers complete services in the comfort of your home servicing Stratford and surrounding areas. Amanda launched her company in 2020 with the help of the Stratford Perth Centre for Business and moved into the Starter Company Plus program to understand the back end of operating a new business. https://stratfordvisitingfootcare.ca

Bruce Borgundvaag, Alastair Home & Design: With a background in design Bruce and his partner Allen loves all things home décor and interiors, which prompted them to launce Alastair Home & Design, an online home décor company with plans to expand to a brick-and-mortar location in Stratford. Looking to partner with local artisans to feature in Alastair Home & Design, Bruce and Allan plan to offer a unique shopping experience to their newly discovered target market. Website under construction.

Elissa Vann, Vann’s Fine Bakery: As existing clients of the Stratford Centre for Business the husband-and-wife team Derek and Elissa Vann constructed a bakery at 215 Douro Street. in Stratford. Due to COVID they moved their business model to an online store featuring artisanal breads and have seen a rise in customer support as they create their brand. They plan to open a retail location once construction of their space is complete. https://vannsbakery.com

Helen Dowd, Operation Organize: Helen Dowd is the owner of Operation Organize. Her company offers packaged services to the seniors in our community. Her organization will deliver pre-made meals, make meals in house, assist loved ones with organizing their home and provide companionship, giving seniors living alone the ability to thrive in their environment. Helen has a team of highly qualified and insured partners who are ready to serve the Perth County senior community. Website under construction.

Jordan Hayness, My Brewery: Jordan plans to open My Brewery in Stratford in the months to come. Through the Starter Company Plus program Jordan was able to complete the start-up phase, connect with professional mentors and build a business that will achieve his business goal of opening his new brewery. Website under construction.

Lara MacMillan, The Nest: Lara is a local artist and teacher and has recently launched The Nest, a community space of local artists. The Nest will house Lara’s art classes which are currently being offered online as well as a space which can be rented (post COVID) to fellow, like minded artist for rehearsal or studio space. Website under construction

Naomi Clement, Naomi Clement Industries: Naomi is a Stratford based potter and educator who not only creates impactful pieces but also offers classes, workshops and lectures across Canada and the USA. Due to COVID, and with the help of the Starter Company, Naomi increased her online presence and plans to use the grant to help fund her online store and expand her virtual classes and workshops.  https://naomiclement.com

Wendy Bennewies Grayson Mills Wedding and Events Centre: Wendy is the owner of the highly anticipated Grayson Mills Wedding And Events centre soon to open on the corner of Erie Street and St. Patrick street in Stratford. Wendy and her team plan to open the venue later this year, with pre-bookings already in progress. Through the Starter Company program Wendy was able to set-up the pre-booking packages and create the Grayson Mills brand. https://www.graysonmills.ca