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Support for young entrepreneurs.

Thanks to a partnership recently forged between the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (Youth Business), the Northwestern Ontario Technology Centre (NOTC) and the Young Entrepreneurs of Thunder Bay YETB, aspiring young entrepreneurs in Thunder Bay have easier access to the funding necessary to start up their own businesses.

The Canadian Youth Business Foundation is a non-profit, private sector initiative, that provides micro-credit financing, mentoring and on-line support. to young Canadians between the ages of 18 and 29, while NOTC is a full service business centre dedicated to developing young,' technology-based companies through support; sound business advice and a nurturing environment.

Melissa Gorrie, a youth co-ordinator for Youth Business, NOTC and YETB, says the partnership allows for a unique new service in Thunder Bay because it is geared specifically to youth.

Applicants with the most viable business plans are selected by a volunteer panel of business and community leaders to receive start-up financing.

Under the partnership, small business financing will be available specifically to Thunder Bay's young entrepreneurs. In addition to this, local entrepreneurs will be able to capitalize on Youth Business' other two programs: Mentoring and YouthBusiness.com. The latter is a comprehensive, interactive, on-line resource that provides information, feedback and support in a virtual community

"The funding is basically coming from CIBC and Royal bank," Gorrie says. "They support the Canadian Youth Business Foundation, so they're the partners for that"

Gorrie says an added benefit is the boost the initiative will give to Young Entrepreneurs of Thunder Bay, a group of young business people who act as a voice for young entrepreneurs by providing educational seminars, social and networking opportunities and peer support.

"The Young Entrepreneurs (of Thunder Bay) are already established," Gorrie says. "(They) will benefit by getting the people who are getting the loans from Youth Business to join their association. That's why there's a partnership between them."

But the greatest benefit, Gorrie says, is the support young entrepreneurs will receive for their business ventures from YETB and others who have experienced the same triumphs and challenges. It could be the difference between keeping aspiring entrepreneurs in Thunder Bay or having them seek business opportunities out-of-town.

"The' greatest benefit is that this supports the youth and breaks the barriers that (their peers at YETB) have already seen 'happen to them when they started up," Gorrie says. "They want to change that for the aspiring young entrepreneurs that are graduating from entrepreneur-ship programs who don't have the start-up money right away and who can't get a bank loan."

"This program is going to help them, and they can in turn join the Young Entrepreneurs association and have networking opportunities and peer support."

Youth Business was founded in 1996 by CIBC, Royal Bank and the Canadian Youth Foundation. Since then, it has helped start nearly 500 businesses which have in turn created over 700 new jobs. In addition to more than 40 corporate sponsors, Youth Business also has over 1,000 volunteers and operates in 30 communities across Canada.

"The Northwestern Ontario Technology Centre, Young Entrepreneurs of Thunder Bay and also Development Thunder Bay basically brought (the program) to Thunder Bay," Gorrie says. "It's been a long time in the making to get the program here. (Youth Business) is a national organization, and they have to find someone in a city who can qualify to be a partner. NOTC qualified for that because they support businesses in town,. especially technical businesses. They're able to feed off each other if there's a youth who receives a technical base loan. (NOTC) might be able to help them get set up in the NOTC (building)."

The NOTC, which first opened its doors in September 1999, functions as a not-for-profit organization and includes representation from the private sector, the chamber of commerce, Development Thunder Bay, Thunder. Bay Telephone, Lakehead University, Confederation College, the associated chambers of commerce and the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association.

Detailed loan application information is available from the Youth Business website at www.cybf.ca.
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Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:GOULIQUER, DIANNE
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jan 1, 2001
Words:664
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