Business Works Youth – Entrepreneurship for the Less Advantaged

BWY RackCardSide1The Entrepreneurial spirit comes from many places. Some people just seem to be born to it. But the desire to be your own boss expresses itself often when people find themselves working jobs they find demeaning or not being able to find a job at all.

There are many job training programs for those who’ve lost their jobs, been laid off or “downsized” or “rightsized” or whatever euphemism makes HR & managers happy with their roles when cutting back. Often the company itself provides job placement and retraining programs.

But there are others who have not had the background or have had life issues thrown in their way. They may have disabilities, they may have issues with mental illness or substance abuse or started of down a poorly chosen path or just may have had bad luck.

For those there is a program by the Canadian Federal Government and the BC Provincial Government that is designed to help younger people, 15 – 29 who are not eligible for Employment Insurance, who are not in school and who may be unemployed or working part time up to 20 hours per week.

This program, called Business Works Youth, is reaching out to those people who may fall between the cracks of the normal safety net of programs for those who are EI eligible. For example, disabled persons can only work a few hours a month before their disability cheques start getting clawed back so they can’t really work a full-time job even if they are able. An eligible person may have dropped out of school or be on welfare. That is no barrier to the entrepreneurial spirit – having the resources to put it into action is.BWY RackCardSide2

In that group, just like every other group of people there are those who dream of creating something, a product or a service, and selling it. By doing so, they take their future into their own hands and take the risks that all entrepreneurs face: that of failure. But many people in this situation don’t have the background and knowledge and confidence to take that step.

The BWY program provides a 3 month training program to teach the fundamentals of business to those people. It gives them the tools to take their skills, their ideas to market. It gives them sales training, financial skills training, the knowledge of where to go and how to set up a business, where to go to get financing.

At the end of those 90 days the participants have created a business plan that they present to a panel of business leaders in the community. Along the way they will have been exposed to speakers from the community, helped to find a mentor for their continued journey after the program is over.

The BWY program is operating in Victoria, Duncan and Nanaimo, British Columbia and is administered by ETHOS Career Management Group. I am the Business Coach in Victoria. The previous version of this program has helped dozens of youth to become entrepreneurs, to create value in the form of useful products and services for consumers and to provide for themselves and their families.

There have been many volunteers from the business community without whom programs like this could YEShave been successful. One such group is the Young Entrepreneurs Society (YES) of Victoria.  They have made it a habit to give back to the community at large in thanks for their success. Their support has been integral to the success of this program in the past. Helping budding entrepreneurs in programs like this either by directly volunteering or by joining groups such as YES are ways to help others become successful too.

If you have the opportunity to volunteer in any capacity you will be better for it.

For more information about BWY contact me at


Larry Earnhart
Business Coach
Business Works Youth


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