Do you dream of starting your own business? You have the idea, you have the drive and determination. It motivates you like no other job opportunity has ever done. But there’s a major hurdle: financing the special skills training you’d need to get it off the ground.
It may not be as major as you think. The province of Ontario wants to help, and if you’re eligible, it can be accomplished via a grant through the new Strategic Community Entrepreneurship Projects (SCEP) program. Launched in April, SCEP is designed to help young entrepreneurs facing barriers in business to gain valuable skills and experience.
SCEP provides grants to not-for-profit organizations to help workers aged 15 to 29 from high-needs communities and vulnerable populations to start businesses. The program fills the gap for those who want to be entrepreneurs but are not eligible for other self-employment assistance programs.
Part of Ontario’s Youth Jobs Strategy
SCEP is a component of the Ontario Youth Jobs Strategy, which is helping to create 30,000 jobs for young people across the province.
- The Youth Jobs Strategy is part of the provincial government’s larger economic plan to create jobs and career opportunities for today and for Ontario’s long-term future.
- The focus is on both people and strategic partnerships. For instance, one centre will receive a $187,000 grant for a year-long project to help young workers get access to training and mentorship opportunities.
Each SCEP project must include training that encourages high-touch learning through various methods including resource guides, workshops, seminars, and learning modules. Projects also may include:
- Specialized mentorships: These may be coaching systems or similar programs to assist youths in working through business development and start-up activities.
- Wrap-around support: These resources support young workers by removing barriers to achieving their goals.
- Micro-financing: These are small grants to directly address business start-up costs.
A project may last up to one year. To be eligible, projects must be completed by Jan. 31, 2016.
Are You Eligible?
To be eligible for assistance through SCEP, you must be aged 15 to 29 and part of one of the following population groups:
- Aboriginal youth
- Newcomer youth
- Racialized youth
- Youth in care
- Youth in or at risk of conflict with the law
- Youth living in poverty or from a low-income family
- Youth with a disability or special need
Or, you may be eligible if you are from an Aboriginal, northern or small community. A small community is defined as a municipality with a population of less than 20,000 or a population density of less than 100 people per square kilometre.
The Youth Jobs Strategy has already helped 9,000 young Ontarians find jobs. SCEP will provide $6 million in funding to delivery partners across the province. In total, Ontario is investing $295 million over two years in the jobs strategy program.
Partner with an Expert
The best tool you can utilize as you turn your business dream into reality is a career partner who can provide access to resources such as SCEP and others that can help you succeed. Take the first step by contacting the recruiting team at Employment Professionals Canada today.