The Province is partnering with Futurpreneur Canada and Prince Rupert LNG to provide $356,000 to teach Indigenous and other rural youth valuable business skills.
The ThriveNorth program is available to people between 18 and 39 years old from northwest B.C. who want to learn business skills or have a strong business idea they want to pursue. The program is tailored for northwest B.C., incorporating business idea validation, business planning workshops, loans and small project grants, and a public ‘Business Challenge’ pitch competition for new and growing businesses.
This year, ThriveNorth will help up to 600 youth take part in the Business Challenge and networking events, 44 youth receive entrepreneurial training and coaching, 20 youth receive financial support including grants and loans, and 11 youth receive mentoring support to launch businesses in their communities. For 2017, ThriveNorth will take part in Prince Rupert, Terrace and Tsimshian communities and will also be expanding to Smithers, Kitimat, Haisla and Nisga’a communities.
In the last two years, ThriveNorth has provided 183 B.C. youth with entrepreneurial training and support, 24 youth with mentoring and 41 young entrepreneurs with financing to launch businesses in their communities, with has created 72 jobs. ThriveNorth also follows up with workshop participants to offer assistance by one of the program’s entrepreneurs-in-residence. In 2016, ThriveNorth events took place in Prince Rupert, Terrace and Tsimshian communities.
The funding partnership includes $170,000 from the provincial government, $86,000 from Futurpreneur Canada and $200,000 from Prince Rupert LNG. $100,000 of the funding provided by the Province will be used to expand Futurepreneur Canada’s Rock My Business Plan workshops for up to six B.C. communities and surrounding areas in 2017; the remaining $70,000 is allocated to the ThriveNorth program. In 2016, the Province partnered with Futurpreneur Canada to provide three Rock My Business Plan workshops in Kelowna, Nanaimo and Prince George, offering business skills training to 80 participants.
The collaboration between the Province, Futurpreneur Canada and Prince Rupert LNG to continue ThriveNorth through 2017 is one of the key ways the B.C. government is taking action to strengthen, grow and diversify rural communities. This partnership builds on the immediate investments and long-term action plan outlined in B.C.’s Rural Economic Development Strategy that are expected to create over 26,000 jobs and add $2.8 billion to provincial GDP.
Coralee Oakes, Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction –
“ThriveNorth will help youth in Northwest B.C. learn important business skills, and give them the opportunity to secure funding to help turn their ideas into reality. Teaching youth new skills will lead to more small businesses opening throughout B.C., positively impacting communities and growing B.C.’s economy.”
Donna Barnett, Minister of State for Rural Economic Development –
“Increasing access to training and education for prospective entrepreneurs is important part of the Province’s strategy to support rural B.C. The skills these youth will learn through ThriveNorth will follow them their whole lives and set them up for careers as successful business owners.”
John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation –
“ThriveNorth will help grow B.C.’s northern communities by instilling confidence in its participants and giving them the roadmap to create new small businesses that will spur innovation, create jobs and grow the economy.”
Julia Deans, CEO of Futurpreneur Canada –
“We’ve seen ThriveNorth's positive impact on young entrepreneurs and the community, funding 49 businesses that have created over 70 jobs. Futurpreneur Canada is grateful for the provincial government's support, which reflects how important young entrepreneurs are to British Columbia’s future. ”
Rosa Miller, Prince Rupert LNG –
“Creating new opportunities for younger generations and stimulating local business are key pieces in helping BC communities grow – this 2017 partnership provides valuable access to resources, mentorship and networking to help these businesses flourish.”
Andrea Pollock – Island Sugar in Prince Rupert (2nd place in the Social Enterprise category of 2016 ThriveNorth Business Challenge) –
“Futurpreneur Canada’s ThriveNorth Business Challenge process helped me to realize that I could take what I thought would be a hobby side project and an actual full scale business. The presentation style of doing pitches helped me become more confident in the way I presented my business. ThriveNorth pushed me to open my store, which I wouldn’t have done in any other circumstance, and now I’m in this totally different place because of Futurpreneur Canada.”
- Futurpreneur Canada is the only national, non-proﬁt organization that provides, mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18-39.
- Futurpreneur Canada has helped youth launch over 1,220 new businesses in B.C. since 2002, creating over 5,800 jobs and an estimated $36.6 million in tax revenue.
- Small businesses make up 98% of all business in B.C. and employ over one million people.
- Small businesses provide 55% of all private-sector jobs in British Columbia, the second highest rate in the country.
- There are over 1,200 Aboriginal-owned companies in British Columbia, many of which are small businesses.
Small business in B.C.: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/business/small-business
Futurpreneur Canada: http://www.futurpreneur.ca/en/