Canadian Youth Business Foundation offers a lot more than just loans. They provide mentorship, opportunities for veterans and new immigrants, and assistance for expanding businesses too.
We think CYBF is still an under-utilized resource for Canadian entrepreneurs under 40. If you haven’t checked out their programs, it’s worth it to see if they have one for you.
1. Who are you and what’s your company?
Jill Earthy, Director for BC & Yukon, Canadian Youth Business Foundation.
2. How do you help small business owners who are just starting out?
As a national non-profit organization, we provide start-up financing to entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 – 39, then match them with a mentor. The combination of money and mentorship assists greatly with the success of a small business. CYBF also provides additional resources and coaching. We work with over 40 partner organizations throughout the province so if we can’t help you, we can direct you to someone who can.
3. What do you most love about the work you do?
Working with entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into a reality is incredibly rewarding. I never tire of talking business and I love the variety of ideas that come our way. Passion is a consistent quality and helping young people to create a business around something they love, is very powerful!
4. What is your best piece of advice for would-be entrepreneurs?
Reach out and ask for help, seek the resources you need and ask lots of questions. There are so many resources in this province. Seek them out and if you are not sure what is the right fit for you, ask someone.
5. What is your favourite little-known resource for entrepreneurs?
I am biased, but I would say the CYBF program is still a little-known resource! It is an incredible program making money accessible to young people, enabling them to invest in their business early on and to build a strong foundation. We also have a number of free resources available for people who apply to our program including time with our Entrepreneur-in-Residence. We offer 1:1 sessions as well as group sessions to bring people together. The combination of money, resources and mentorship is powerful.
6. In your opinion, how important is planning to the success of a small business in its first year or two?
This is a good question…I do think it is important to plan out the first 1-2 years of a business as a way to really think through all of the different scenarios that may occur and to make sure you have a viable business model. You need to be aware of your market, your competition, your finances, your message etc. However, I also know that sometimes you just have to go for it and try things to see what works. Once you start your business, things do change and it is important to be flexible. However, it is also good to have a baseline plan you can refer to when things get crazy. Planning is good but be flexible.
7. How can entrepreneurs get in touch with you to learn more?
Anything else you want our readers to know?
If you can access additional financing and support to set up your business properly right from the beginning, this help you significantly over the longer term.