The Prescott and Russell Entrepreneurship Centre has awarded $2,500 grants to 13 start-up businesses in the United Counties.

In all, a total of $32,500 in grants were given out through the non-profit group’s Starter Company Plus program, which provides financial support to both existing and new businesses. The non-refundable grants will allow the purchase of equipment, advertising, the implementation of a website and all other miscellaneous entrepreneurial expenses.

“For us specifically it’s going towards a lot of infrastructure, tilling and initial plot preparation,” said Thaila Riden, co-owner of the Grand Barn community gardens project, located on Barb Road east of Vankleek Hill.

The program – offered in collaboration with the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade – also provided the opportunity to attend workshops aimed at improving their business knowledge. In addition to training on financial basics, innovation, virtual presence, adapting to new realities and customer service, participants developed their business plan and delivered a pitch in front of a panel. The virtual meetings allowed for networking and a chance to obtain advice on how to overcome COVID-19 and other challenges.

“We also got to meet other entrepreneurs and we’ve kept in touch with them,” noted Riden, who greatly appreciated the training and networking opportunities provided through the program. “It was nice – it actually helped build awareness and a community.”

The Prescott and Russell Entrepreneurship Centre (PREC) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help small business owners in Prescott and Russell succeed in their start-up or expansion project.

“Despite the current pandemic, it is reassuring to see entrepreneurs with this passion for business who continue to move forward with their dreams and adapt to the circumstances in which we live,” said PREC Project Officer Liza Langevin, in a news release announcing the grants. “We’re confident that they have good work skills and the tools they need to move forward in their entrepreneurial careers.”

Here is the full list of grant recipients:

Sara Anne Mailhot – Café Sucré – Casselman

Lorraine Auclair – Gâteaux Lila Cakes and Sweets – Hawkesbury

Marc Leduc & Nikolas Dupuis – Seal N Clean – Rockland

Stéphane Noël – Noël Mediation Services – Services de Médiation Noël – Casselman

Benoit Bonneau – Boucherie Bonneau Meat Shop – Plantagenet

Patrick Lalonde – Lalonde Physio – L’Orignal

Marc-André Amyot; Valérie Lachaîne – Winston – L’Orignal

Simon et Élise Guindon – Simon Commercial Plumbing – Hawkesbury

Michael Inskip – Fairway Green Cannabis – L’Orignal

Éric Turgeon – Garage Mechlec – Hawkesbury

Vanessa Viau, Samuel Doucet & Aude Martel – Kyan Cuisine – Embrun

Thaila Riden – The Grand Barn – Vankleek Hill

Elena Piccone – Abaru Construction and Property Management, Inc. – Hawkesbury