Ontario Supporting Young Entrepreneurs and Social Enterprises
Ontario is investing in the next generation of promising young entrepreneurs by providing access to training and mentoring to launch their ideas into businesses and scale up their ventures.
Today at the 11th annual Ontario Centres of Excellence Discovery Conference, the province announced the successful Ontario Social Impact Voucher program will return for the second year. In partnership with the Ontario Centres of Excellence, the program will provide 200 vouchers worth up to $3,000 each to eligible social entrepreneurs across Ontario to access relevant training programs such as business planning or marketing to help scale up their business.
Last year, 125 vouchers were fully subscribed within the first six months of the program’s launch, allowing participants to grow their business in terms of both customers and partnerships through useful training programs. Participants in the pilot program include social enterprises across a range of sectors, including health, cleantech, digital media and information and communications technology and advanced manufacturing.
Ontario is also announcing the winners of the Young Entrepreneurs, Make Your Pitch competition. Six promising entrepreneurs will receive a reserved spot in Ontario’s Summer Company program, which provides mentoring and funding to help launch new businesses.
Supporting youth entrepreneurship opportunities and helping start-ups succeed is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in talent and skills, including helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history and investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.
“Ontario Centres of Excellence is pleased to continue our partnership with the Ontario government to promote entrepreneurship through Make Your Pitch and Ontario Social Impact Vouchers. Through these programs, we’re supporting promising entrepreneurs to transform their ideas into experience, and also scale up their ventures into more viable business.” — Tom Corr, President and CEO, Ontario Centres of Excellence
- Social enterprises use business strategies to achieve a social or environmental impact. While generating revenues from the sale of goods and services, they also expressly intend to create positive outcomes and they measure their results. As their business grows, the social impact grows.
- Up to 200 Ontario-based social entrepreneurs endorsed by an Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE) member organization may be eligible for a voucher worth up to $3,000.
- More than 200 videos were submitted by individuals or teams for the Make Your Pitch competition. The videos could be up to two minutes long and describe the participants idea for a new business or innovation.
- The competition is part of Ontario’s Youth Jobs Strategy. Over 4,700 jobs have been created under the strategy since it launched in the fall of 2013.
- Summer Company helped students launch 865 businesses in 2015.