Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation

Sept. 27, 2011

KELOWNA – Helping unemployed young people create new businesses and new jobs. That’s the focus of an innovative, new government program being administered in the Kelowna area by Community Futures Development Corporation of Central Okanagan.

Under the program, Community Futures has been awarded $212,500 to help 25 local youth develop their business ideas and entrepreneurial skills. The project is part of a new $1.65-million pilot program introduced by the B.C. government and funded through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Agreement.

The Youth Skills BC – Entrepreneurship Pilot Program is designed to assist unemployed youth (ages 15 to 29) who are non-Employment Insurance clients. It will support young people by enhancing their entrepreneurial, employability and occupational skills through the development of a formal business plan, mentorship and training.

This innovative new program provides the opportunity for youth to participate in business training, work with local business owners and access one-on-one business coaching and development programs. Through the program, youth with a sound business concept can apply directly to Community Futures Central Okanagan for assistance in developing their concepts into a formal business plan.

Up to $5,000 per participant will be available to support pilot program activities and may include personal supports during the development of the business plan, business seed funding, an education grant or the purchase of training.

Pilot project funding is also going to groups in Prince George, Victoria and Vancouver.

Quotes:

Norm Letnick, MLA, Kelowna-Lake Country – “To compete in a new world economy we need entrepreneurs with new fresh ideas. This pilot program is an investment in our business future. Like anyone else, entrepreneurs need a chance to learn the requisite skills. Kelowna can expect great things from these 25 young businesspeople.”

Steve Thomson, MLA, Kelowna-Mission – “If you want a glimpse into the business future of Kelowna and the Okanagan, these 25 up-and-coming entrepreneurs will be people to keep an eye on.”

Ben Stewart, MLA, Westside-Kelowna – “Youth Skills BC is a great program that will help develop tomorrow’s business leaders by giving them exactly what they need – business skills training, and providing mentorship from among today’s business leaders.”

Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation – “Encouraging young people to develop new business ventures and gain business experience as entrepreneurs is an investment in our future. This program is an example of what we are doing to help create and protect jobs for British Columbians, which is the focus of our B.C. jobs plan.”

The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada – “Understanding that each province and territory is well positioned to address its own unique labour market needs, our Government is proud to support this innovative project. Helping young people develop the entrepreneurial spirit and skills they need to succeed in, and potentially create, the jobs of tomorrow will strengthen B.C.’s long-term competitiveness; building a stronger province and a stronger Canada.”

Larry Widmer, general manager, Community Futures Development Corporation of Central Okanagan – “The Central Okanagan is renowned for its entrepreneurial spirit and is a great place for youth to access entrepreneurial training, leadership and mentoring. We are seeing a surge in interest from youth to become self employed and this program will be a valuable tool to help us address this growing need. The future belongs to our youth and we will work with them to make sure that they have the resources they need to be successful in their own businesses.”

Learn More:

Community Futures Development Corporation of Central Okanagan: www.cfdcco.com/Front-Page-News/youth-means-business.html

Contacts: Gordon Keast Senior Public Affairs Officer Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation 250 356-7104

Larry Widmer Community Futures Development Corporation of Central Okanagan 250 868-2132

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect

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