Self Employment Services

Can I continue to receive my EI benefits while in the program?

Yes. Your benefits will continue to be paid until your EI benefit period ends. If your EI ends during the 48 weeks of program, you will begin to receive a living allowance of $300 per week until the end of the 48 weeks. There will not be an extension to EI benefits.

Can I work while I am participating in the program?

The program requires that participant work a minimum or 35 hours per week on their business. Employment income must be declared and may reduce your EI or living allowance.

Do I have to show up for class every day for 48 weeks?

The program has two components: a 10 week business plan development phase and a 38 week business launch phase. During the initial 10 weeks, there are five mandatory workshops and three coaching sessions. Additional workshops may be provided depending on client’s needs. During the 38 weeks of business launch clients are expected to attend monthly coaching sessions and additional entrepreneurial workshops.

Am I allowed to keep the money I earn through my new business while I am participating in the program?

Yes. This could be an important source of working capital and may allow the new business owner to re-invest in their business

I am not quite ready to apply for a seat in the program – how often is it offered?

The program has continual intake and orientations occur on a regular basis. To learn the date of the next Orientation contact our reception at 250 334-3425.

What happens in the Orientation and Assessment session?

The Orientation is intended to provide clients with a detailed overview of the program and to explore whether self-employment is the best option for them

Topic covered in the Orientation are:
Program eligibility
Participant roles and responsibilities
Training workshop content
Reporting Requirements
Entrepreneurism and self-assessment
Business viability

What kind of training is provided?

There are five mandatory workshops that all participants will attend:
Managing business operations
Financial management
Marketing and Sales
Human Resource Development
Succession Planning

In addition to the mandatory workshops, there are other topics covered which assist participants to develop a detailed business plan

Am I eligible? I am closing down my business. (or) I haven’t been making any money in my business for the last 6 months. Am I eligible?

If you are currently operating your business, you will not be eligible. The program is intended to support unemployed people who require assistance to develop and launch a new business or to arrange the purchase of an existing business. The program will not support a pre-existing business operated by the applicant.

Who provides the training?

The training is provided by our sub-contractor, Biz Works.

Where is the training held?

Training is held at Biz Works premises at 713-3030 Kilpatrick Ave., Courtenay.

Can I take a holiday during the training program?

No. All participants are required to commit to 48 week of full time participation and attendance.

Does the program provide essential tools such as a laptop?

The program does not provide tools, equipment or supplies. Participants are expected to make personal investments in their business and these requirements are their responsibility

What kind of business ideas are you accepting? (or) Do you prefer to accept certain types of businesses?

Eligible Businesses are:
A new business or an existing business in which the eligible participant has had no prior ownership.
A business that is not expected to result in putting another individual out of business or negatively impacting other businesses in the community

Ineligible business activities include:
Sexual exploitation, illegal activity, production of materials that promote hate, discrimination or illegal activity.
Proselytizing of a particular religious of political opinion
A business that is partially or entirely based on commission, acting as an agency of a parent company e.g. real estate agents or insurance brokers
A part time business except in the case of clients with disabilities.
An existing operational business in which the applicant already has ownership or has had previous ownership
Non-profit organizations

I have a lot of previous experience. Do I have to take all the training?The program training sessions and meetings are mandatory

The program training sessions and meetings are mandatory

Who gets accepted?

Participants are approved based on the following criteria:
Personal experience, skills and abilities
Fit of the proposed business idea with the local economy and business climate

If my business idea is rejected, can I apply again with a different idea?

Yes. This could be discussed with your Case Manager.

How many people get accepted for each program?

There are no minimum or maximum numbers of participants. Acceptance into the program is based on the quality of the business idea and the applicant’s suitability.

Can my wife and I be partners?

Participants may chose to go into partnership, however the program will only support one person per business.

Should I get a business number now; can I register the name?

No. You should wait until these topics are dealt with during the business planning phase.

How do I prove there is a demand for my idea so that I can get into the program?

There is no requirement to prove market viability at the application stage. This will be dealt with in detail during the 19 week business planning phase. Participants will learn how to conduct market surveys and develop financial forecasts based on their marketing plan.