Winning Finalist “Top 4 Under 40” Lyle Saunders finds success by Connecting with Community Supports
“See a need, fill a need” is Lyle Saunders’ founding story for his local business, Peterborough Disability Tax Services. Created in 2017, Lyle saw a local need for tax services specifically for individuals and families with special needs and disabilities. These unique circumstances often meant a headache for locals when it came to tax time and Lyle wanted to help.
As an experienced tax specialist, Lyle left his full-time job to pursue becoming an entrepreneur, starting with a cause that is near and dear to his heart. After his son was diagnosed with autism at the age of 7, Lyle began to understand the financial challenges that individuals and families face when applying for additional tax credits and programs. “I really didn’t find the support I was looking for locally,” explains Lyle. “I was only able to access online programs that charged an extremely high commission fee. For many families, like mine, this just isn’t reasonable. From there, Peterborough Disability Tax Services was born.”
“In addition to wanting to help families like mine, I wanted to be able to own my business,” continues Lyle. “Being able to adapt my schedule to meet my family’s sometimes unique needs was a major bonus. And I like the process of working for myself, instead of spending my hours filling up someone else’s cash register. Without programs like Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development, my business would not be what it is today.”
For Lyle, his business growth is a credit to the deep support from local Peterborough community members and businesses. “Especially during COVID-19, I am so thankful for the support my community has shown me and for the incredible people I have met. For me, Peterborough is an amazing place to be successful, both professionally and personally.”
In addition to supporting individuals and families with disabilities, Lyle also offers a seasonal tax service for all households via Saunders Tax Services; “Simple taxes, at a simple price”. For Lyle, he strives to provide a non-judgment and inclusive space for any household or small business looking for simple tax advice.
When asked about being a winning finalist of this year’s Peterborough Chamber Top 4 Under 40, Lyle is a bit lost for words. “To be a chosen finalist is incredibly humbling,” says Lyle.
“I am so grateful to Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and other community groups for their support in helping to grow and foster my business. From learning to write a business plan to how to be successful, I wouldn’t be where I am today without their support. To be recognized as a community champion is a really great accomplishment that I am very proud of.”
In addition to ongoing community and business support, Lyle has also taken advantage of the many networking opportunities available through Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development, Peterborough Chamber, and Community Futures. “I first started with the Business Advisory Centre and began to learn about running a business the right way regarding sustainability. I knew I wanted to create a successful business in the long term, so the Business Advisory Centre was a great place to learn from people who have succeeded.”
As part of its mandate, Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development works with local stakeholders to attract, retain and support local businesses, investors, entrepreneurs, and visitors in order to foster sustainable, economic growth. This includes business learning programs through the Business Advisory Centre.
When asked about the “why” that drives his business, Lyle’s answer is simple. “I love being able to be a community resource for so many individuals and families,” he says. “We really are like a community within a larger community. For many, navigating the complex world of disability resources can be exhausting. You truly don’t know what you don’t know. I like being able to create a network of resources and help people find their way to additional support. “
“I can’t thank the Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development folks enough,” says Lyle.
“I am a true example of how their programs help our city and small businesses as a whole. Without the Business Advisory Centre, grant opportunities and office rental at the Peterborough Chamber, I wouldn’t be as successful as I am today.”