Program coordinator Blue Netherclift is looking for young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 to 29 to participate in the new Youth Mean Business program at Community Futures. Think fast: prior to the July 6 application deadline

Central Kootenay youth invited to create own businesses

Youth Mean Business, a new local Community Futures program, will offer help and cash to five entrepreneurs to launch their own business.

Starting a business is, well, serious business. While risks abound, the benefits can outweigh them — with thorough planning.

Youth Mean Business, the newest program at Community Futures Central Kootenay, has been set up to do just that: help young people turn their ideas into viable new businesses. As well as financial support of up to $5,000, they are offering up to six months of business planning and mentoring to support the creation and launch of the new business.

That’s where program coordinator Blue Netherclift  comes in. Specifically geared for people 18 to 29, who have not received employment insurance in the last three years, Netherclift says the program is “for youth who are underemployed and already have a business concept.

“We want to see that they’ve done some market research or at least thought about it. It has to be a business with a niche, something new, interesting and viable.”

Netherclift said in his experience there are some typical pitfalls of starting a business.

“You can have a really good idea, but you don’t know how to sell it. You don’t have your financials lined up. For example,  if you spend all your money on the marketing, how are you going cover the running costs? It seems like an obvious thing but if it’s a summer business, what are you going to do in the winter to get through too?”

Community Futures executive director Andrea Wilkey echoed Netherclift’s comments.

“Not doing market research, having a business plan and understanding your financials are what keep a business from being as successful and profitable as it could be,” she says. “For example, your sales may be high but the cost of the goods is so high there is little profit. Is your business going to be profitable enough to live off of and be worth your while?”

Netherclift’s role is to assist entrepreneurs with planning and market research as they work to launch their business within the next six months. He will be looking at the skills participants have, as well as what training and special tools they may need to get their business running successfully — for instance, website development training or Foodsafe certification. He aims to give them thorough instruction to write a good business plan and know how all the different elements of business interact with their marketing, sales and finances.

The goal: “To have a good business plan so you can tackle the problems before they come up.”

Netherclift said he learns by doing and knows what it’s like to run a business. For ten years, he ran an outdoor adventure tour company. Two years ago, he pitched the idea of an outdoor program to Self Design, an independent online high school. The school was looking for just that and ever since Netherclift has been running the program with the intensive adventure workshops he designed — a series of seven-day trips which focus on teamwork and leadership.

Anyone interested must attend one of the orientation workshops, offered in Nelson on July 2 and Castlegar the following day. The application deadline is July 6 and the program begins July 13.

For more information, contact bnetherclift@futures.bc.ca,  call 250-352-1933 x 111 or visit futures.bc.ca/YMB.

What’s available?

• Up to $5,000 for living supports and training

• A completion bonus at the end of the three-month program

• A professional mentor

• Ongoing business support

• One-on-one coaching

• Business planning instruction

• Networking in local business

• Specialized business training

Are you eligible?

• Age 18 to 29

• Residing in Central Kootenay region (Nelson, Salmo, Castlegar, Kaslo, Slocan and areas)

• Currently unemployed or underemployed (working 20 hours or less per week)

• Have not received employment insurance within the past three years

• No longer a full-time student or enrolled in high school

• Not currently participating in a Canada/British Columbia Labour Market Agreement funded program

• Legally entitled to work in Canada

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