A new social entrepreneurship program in Sault Ste. Marie will aim to help people facing employment barriers join the workforce, launch their own small business, or pursue a post-secondary education.
Project Entrepreneurship, an initiative of the Centre for Social Justice and Good Works, is creating a 12-month training program, which will include eight months of in-class entrepreneurship training followed by four months of hands-on training in a startup chocolate manufacturing operation.
The initiative will focus on life skills, business techniques, employment standards, employer expectations and entrepreneurship. The centre will provide tools, staff, mentors and other volunteers to help the program participants through their journey.
Between 150 and 200 individuals are expected to benefit from the individualized training. In addition, the chocolate manufacturing wholesale startup is expected to help create two full-time and three part-time permanent positions.
FedNor announced its support for the project on March 27 with $589,500 in funding.
“Our commitment to our community in creating positive change, through the support of our federal government and the ongoing support from our local MP, Terry Sheehan, moves closer to deliverables,” said Christina Coutu, executive director at the Centre for Social Justice and Good Works, in a news release.
“In supporting our Project Entrepreneurship, a unique training program that addresses social and employment issues using a combination of strategies, the government and its representatives are demonstrating their commitment to investing in our community.”
Social entrepreneurship is described as a business that generates enough revenues to help solve a social problem.
According to a 2016 Canadian Social Enterprise Survey Report, social enterprises provided paid employment for at least 31,000 workers in Canada, including full-time, part‐time, seasonal and contract workers, who together earned over $442 million in wages and salaries.