A few entrepreneurial young Leaside students have decided that this summer instead of looking for a job and working for someone else, they would open their own business and employ themselves.
Matthew Gehring, a third-year University of Toronto, Rotman commerce student, recently started a home security company named Panther Security Solutions (www.panthersecurity.net). A consummate entrepreneur, Matthew has been mowing lawns and shoveling snow since Grade 6. Last year, jump-started by a summer company grant from Ryerson, he started an in-home data backup company.
Why home security, and why now? Inspired by his Mom’s concern over keeping their home safe and protected, Matthew combined his talent for technology (he was a founding member of the Leaside High School Robotics Team) and his entrepreneurial spirit to come up with Panther. Installing premium quality video surveillance systems, Matthew’s company tag line is: Keeping Leaside on the Safeside.
Meanwhile, those of you strolling down Bayview may have noticed a new addition to the retail landscape as a new pop-up store named Hello Summer recently opened at 1551 Bayview. Started by a pair of Grade 10 Leaside high school students, Lucas Flemming and Pierce Goulimis, the store offers a range of products from Augie’s Gourmet Ice Pops, sauces from Wicked Gourmet and an interesting range of fun giftware and toys. Why did they decide to start their own retail business? “We did not see ourselves working for someone else,” both answered.
“I grew up in a house of business, my Dad is in the construction and consulting industry, and he would always talk about his clients and how he had to deal with them,” said Pierce. This past year, he was part of the Junior Achievement club at Leaside High, where his group created a company called Ball-it that partnered with the MLSE and the Toronto Raptors to obtain game-used basketballs and turn them into key chains.
Flemming, also 15, has always loved running shoes and has been collecting them since he was 11 years old. To fund his hobby, Lucas’s early foray into the business world found him importing 50 pairs of shoes, which he proceeded to quickly resell for a tidy profit. When asked what he did with these profits, the response, of course, was to buy more shoes. In Grade 7, Lucas and a friend started a secret retail enterprise, where they bought candy in bulk from the Dollar Store, repackaged it, marked it up, and sold out of their school lockers at Bessborough public school. The unauthorized business was quickly shut down by the school principal, but not before these budding entrepreneurs made almost a hundred dollars.
While all three young men will be returning to school in the fall, it looks like they will certainly leave the summer of 2018 with a few more business lessons under their belts. Panther Security will continue on as an ongoing business while the pop-up store will be closing on August 31st.
This article was contributed by Stan Flemming.