YOUTH SMALL BUSINESS PROGRAM
ARE YOU AGED 16-29 AND READY TO BUILD YOUR OWN BUSINESS? WE CAN HELP.
Open to all levels of experience, the Youth Small Business Program (YSBP) is a FREE skill-building program centred on participation, peer learning and group mentorship that will help you turn your business ideas into business realities. Whether you’re looking to enter the gig economy, launch a side hustle or build a full-time business, YSBP is the perfect place to start your journey.
Rise YSBP Participant
“The Rise program has completely transformed my life. I took everything I have learned to build a business that I not only love, but I am also very proud of Thanks to this business I am now able to fully financially support myself by doing something I love.”
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
YSBP is a bit like a beginner’s business school—but with a twist. Delivered online over 8-10 weeks, this isn’t your traditional lecture-style classroom course. It’s a flexible, participatory program founded on positive mental health practices that place you and your unique needs at the centre of your learning. Open to all levels of experience, YSBP uses a mix of facilitator-led lessons, group mentoring sessions, and collaborative peer support to help young people learn how to build a business, step by step. Best of all, you’ll graduate with a practical business plan and the skills to put it into action.
What does the program include?
- Accessible nationwide: Virtual programming means you can participate in YSBP from anywhere across Canada.
- Twice weekly sessions: You will participate in live online sessions facilitated by expert trainers twice a week. You’ll learn business basics, participate in meaningful group discussions, and benefit from the knowledge and advice of experienced entrepreneurs and professionals who volunteer as Rise Mentors.
- An idea you’re ready to build: To get the most out of YSBP, you need a practical idea to start or grow your own for-profit business within the next 12 months. It can be a seasonal gig, a side hustle, part-time work or a full-time enterprise—all ideas are welcome.
- A commitment to your mental health: From day one of the program, you and your peers will commit to fostering a safe, non-judgmental learning environment where everyone can share their opinions and experiences to create connections and enhance learning.
- Pitch your plan and graduate: To graduate from YSBP, you must be committed. That means regular attendance, completing your assignments, and submitting a business plan to present to your peers and an expert panel at the end of the program.
What are the benefits?
Business development: You will build practical skills in areas such as financial literacy, business registration, creating customer personas and pitching your ideas. You will also develop 30-, 60- and 90-day action plans to take your small business to the next level.
Personal development: You will work in a supportive, mindful environment where you can build your confidence and work on how you communicate your business. Plus, you’ll have the chance to practice interpersonal skills and improve how you accept and deliver constructive feedback.
Networking & mentorship: You will meet like-minded individuals and get guidance and support from Rise Mentors, who have real-world business experience to help you navigate challenges and bring your ideas to life.
Financing: YSBP is FREE to participate in, and as a graduate, you will be eligible for a $500 start-up grant.
How to apply
We are always accepting applications to YSBP, but space is limited, so submit your form today!
New cohorts start throughout the year. Once you have applied, we’ll contact you to learn more about your business and determine whether YSBP is right for you at this stage. Participants are selected based on how well thought-out their business is, their commitment to building it, and their readiness to participate in the program.
If YSBP is the right fit, we will enroll you for specific program dates as they become available and space permits.
In the meantime, we’ll keep in touch via email so you can stay informed of all upcoming Rise opportunities.