A new business startup program, delivered in partnership between Niagara College and TD Bank Group, will offer a suite of supports to Niagara residents looking to venture into the area of self-employment.
The program, called Sources, leverages the expertise of NC’s Community Employment Services (CES) and School of Business and Management, with a contribution from TD Bank Group, which granted $115,000 to the College to support the program. Through one-on-one mentorship, coaching and a comprehensive training ‘bootcamp,’ Sources aims to give 40 aspiring entrepreneurs the tools to plan, launch and help drive success in their business initiatives over the long term.
“We’re proud to support Niagara College and the Sources program focused on increasing small business opportunities in the region,” said Scott Galbraith, district vice president, Commercial Banking – Niagara Region, TD Bank Group. “As part of our corporate citizenship platform, the TD Ready Commitment, we’re helping Niagara residents build new skills to achieve their goals amidst an ever-changing economy. We look forward to welcoming 40 new, future entrepreneurs in Niagara.”
Rebecca Nicholls, NC’s manager of Community Employment Programs and Services, noted that the offering is unique within the suite of employment programs available for job seekers in Niagara.
“There is little support available for individuals interested in self-employment, either financial or training,” said Nicholls. “Sources offers support and mentorship from start to finish, which is key for someone who wants to launch a business successfully.”
Nicholls also noted that since early on in the COVID-19 pandemic there has been an increased interest in self-employment as a way for people who are out of work to re-enter the labour market. “Sources aims to help people who are unemployed and get them employment,” said Nicholls.
The program, which is free and open to anyone in Niagara who is unemployed, will be delivered over a two-year period with two intakes each year. CES is currently accepting applicants for the first intake beginning May 17 with a second intake planned for September.
Those interested in applying to the program are required to register for an online information session to discuss the viability of their business idea with an employment consultant from CES. The consultant will also offer initial exercises in financial and emotional readiness, work style and people skills to help ensure the individual is prepared to manage a self-employment venture. An upcoming session is available on May 5 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. – register on the CES website.
After the assessment process, successful applicants will complete a three-week training program including courses in developing a business concept, goal setting and time management, marketing, human resources, legal issues and more. The course content will be delivered virtually by CES staff, along with faculty from NC’s School of Business and Management, who will bring their added expertise to the program.
“Our faculty look forward to working with the budding entrepreneurs of tomorrow to help equip them with the necessary tools to successfully launch their businesses,” said Alan Unwin, NC’s dean of Business, Tourism and Environment.
Once the training portion of the program is complete, participants will develop their business plan, with support from their CES employment consultant as needed, and work towards launching their business venture. Employment consultants will continue to support participants during the first three months of business operation, while quarterly networking cafes will be offered to help facilitate connections and synergies between program participants. Thanks to TD, participants are also eligible for a grant of up to $1,500 to assist with business start-up costs, including website and business registration fees.
“Through the program, we hope to help participants turn their business dreams into realities,” said Nicholls.
To learn more about Sources, visit niagaracollege.ca/ces/self-employment/ or contact NC’s Community Employment Services at 905-932-1849 (call or text) or firstname.lastname@example.org. The CES office is open virtually on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Niagara College offers more than 130 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine science, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, distilling, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit niagaracollege.ca.