The next generation of Victoria entrepreneurs is getting its start thanks to a new pilot program.
Youth Mean Business provides financial assistance and business coaching for eligible people 18 to 29 years of age.
Since its launch earlier this year, the program has worked with business ideas ranging from a doula to a yoga instructor to a musician.
“This is designed to provide the tools needed to take a business idea and develop it into a viable venture,” explains program manager Leaverd Carnegie.
Participants are given free access to a wide range of practical support tools and entrepreneurial expertise, ranging from one-on-one business coaching to leading-edge online and in-person training, which can be tailored for the individual.
Participants — they must be unemployed and have no EI attachment — may also receive a living allowance for up to six months while they complete and present a business plan.
“This allows them to totally focus their time on their business plan, research and proving that their idea is viable,” says Carnegie.
Participants interview their competition and potential clients, and obtain letters of intent and interest before they open.
Their business coach provides guidance and training, to ensure they don’t get stalled or overwhelmed.
“Youth see a business plan as being very intimidating and a lot of work. Our program helps them break it down into smaller parts that they can handle, one piece at a time, until it’s finished.”
The financial support is critical, Carnegie says, since it allows participants to support themselves while focusing on their business plan and future success. Other financial aid — a training allowance — covers courses they need to sharpen their skills.
Youth Mean Business can provide start-up money, and participants can take their business plans to lenders.
“There is nothing better than seeing someone succeed,” says Carnegie, who for the last three years was a business coach with a self-employment program on the Island, and in that role assisted more than 120 people in researching, writing and implementing their business plans.
He has more than 15 years of business-building experience, ranging from a small business account manager with CIBC, to financial consulting. He holds an economics degree from the University of Victoria and is a level 3 certified general accountant.
Interested youth in the Capital Regional District can find out more about the program by visiting www.ethoscmg.com/ymb.html, searching for Youth Mean Business on Facebook, or @YMBvictoria on Twitter.
For more information, contact Carnegie at 250-384-9283 or email@example.com.