Former Governor General of Canada Michaëlle Jean Launches Entrepreneurship Drive

Canada's Governor General Jean delivers speech in Ottawa

Canada’s former Governor General Michaëlle Jean has launched a national program to increase entrepreneurship and business literacy within underserved communities across Canada. The initiative is being presented by the Michaëlle Jean Foundation, BMO and CIBC.

The “Young Arts Entrepreneur”  program is designed to help creative youth establish their first arts-based business. The program was designed with the assistance of the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) to fill a gap identified by community youth and arts organizations across the country.

“Over the past decade, we met hundreds of young Canadians who shared their dream of making a better future for themselves by creating a successful arts-based business,” said Michaëlle Jean and Jean-Daniel Lafond, cofounders of the Michaëlle Jean Foundation. “We were so inspired by their testimonies that we decided to create a program that could empower underserved youth to take their first steps in the business world.”

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To be eligible, applicants must be aged between 17 and 30, Canadian citizens or permanent residents, and have experience working in an arts-related field.

Successful applicants are given $7,500 in start-up funds over a two-year period, also receiving mentoring, business plan development, marketing and other business skills. Finally, the will receive ongoing mentoring in arts techniques, from seasoned professionals. The aim of the program is to provide participants with the tools, experience and connections in the financial world they need to “graduate” to other ongoing opportunities to build their businesses.

Interested in applying? To access the program application form and detailed criteria, click here. The deadline for applications is January 10, 2014.

The Michaëlle Jean Foundation supports programs for underprivileged youth who are “using their creativity to build new solutions to pressing social issues, like poverty, social exclusion and mental health.” In so doing, they are “catalyzing innovative community renewal projects, driving Aboriginal cultural resurgence, and kick-starting cutting-edge business ventures,” throughout Canada.

Joseph Czikk

Joseph Czikk

Joseph Czikk is Managing Editor at Betakit. Prior to Betakit Joseph wrote for the National Post, Montreal Gazette, Vancouver Sun, Regina Leader Post, Techvibes and BC Business Online. Joseph often goes crazy on twitter during NHL and NFL games.