If you’re a young Canadian who wants to start a business, but you aren’t sure where to begin, the Toronto-based nonprofit Youth Employment Services can help. YES offers a range of programs designed to support young, unemployed individuals in finding jobs or setting themselves up in business.
What Is YES?
YES is a nonprofit that the Rotary Club of Toronto started up in the 1960s with the aim of helping disadvantaged Canadian youth find employment. In 1998, it expanded to open Canada’s first Youth Business Centre, offering support for unemployed young people who are keen to be their own boss rather than working for someone else. Describing itself as “the Employment Champion for Youth,” YES provides advice in developing a business plan, support in getting startup loads, and business skills development programs. Whether you want to start up your own business or become an independent contractor, YES can offer the support you need to set you off on the right track.
The BizStart Entrepreneurship Program
The BizStart program is an intensive full-time six-month business incubator. Running at the YES Youth Business Centre in Toronto, it is designed to help young people start up their own businesses. Topics include business planning, marketing, management, entrepreneurship, web design, and life skills. You are also matched with a mentor from the business community who can provide ongoing support and advice to help you succeed. Hundreds of young entrepreneurs have successfully graduated through the program, and many return to offer advice to the up-and-coming generation.
HSBC Ask a Business Consultant (ABC) Program
The ABC program is a series of 11 sessions for young people aged 15 to 29 and covers the most important things you need to know when starting a business. Starting with a session on “What Kind of Business Do I Want to Own?” and concluding with “I Have a Dream: How to Turn your Vision into Reality,” the program covers essentials such as business planning, marketing, money management, filing taxes, accounting, and basic legal do’s and don’ts. You can sign up for the whole series or just attend those sessions that interest you.
Summer Company Program
If you’re just dipping your toes into becoming a successful entrepreneur by running a short-term summer business before returning to school or college, the Summer Company program is an ideal way to get started. In addition to 12 hours of training, coaching, and mentor support, you can receive a financial award to help with startup costs and additional sum once you successfully complete the program.
Nancy Schaefer, the president of YES, is the author of several books aimed at helping young people into employment. “Great Work! Great Job!” is full of tips and advice, questions and answers, and checklists covering most all you need to know about the basics of planning, marketing, and managing your own business. Schaefer has worked as an advocate for entrepreneurial youth since the 1980s and writes in a plain and direct language that is easy to understand. With the exception of the small award available for Summer Company entrepreneurs, YES can’t provide you with the funds you need to get started in your own business. However, the training, advice, and ongoing mentor support combined with your entrepreneurial spirit and motivation give you a boost in getting your business off to a good start and converting your dreams into reality.