The government funded program helps people aged 12-29 start their own business venture.
Drew Ennis, program coordinator, has already helped clients take their first steps towards a lucrative summer, including two 11-year-olds and their candy stand. The kids plan to bring their transportable stand to the beach, and were given permission to set it up at Duley Campground.
“They had the idea and came to me for advice on how to get the ball rolling,” said Ennis. “So I helped them fill out the permits to start.”
Ennis said 15 minutes of paperwork is all it takes.
“Once they’re covered with Youth Ventures we’ll help them with their marketing and business plan, taking their business to the next level so they’re not just a lemonade stand on the side of the road.”
Other businesses that have taken off include lawn care, cake decorating, and an ice cream bicycle cart.
Sometimes the clients will have an idea before they visit, but Ennis said they don’t have to.
“A lot of kids have set up appointments with me; they don’t really know what they want to do so they’ll come in and talk to me and I’ll give them ideas and we’ll talk about their interests, and go from there.”
Running a business isn’t easy, but it can be fun and rewarding. Ennis said it’s a valuable learning experience.
“It teaches them a lot of responsibility. I don’t think young people really understand how much work there is to start a business; there’s a lot that goes into it.”
The economic climate in Labrador West has stripped many opportunities for the younger workers, and Ennis said if they can start their own business it could open a lot of doors in the future.
“University students took the jobs for the town so there’s not much for the high school kids to be doing. If they can start their own work that’s awesome.”
She noted it also looks good on a resume or college application.
“If you’re 15-years old and plan on applying for a job when you’re 16, but have no work experience, you can start your own venture.”
Aside from the quick paperwork in the beginning Ennis said her clients have no contracts to keep with the Youth Ventures program.
“I’ll keep in contact with them all summer to make sure their business is going as they want it to, and offer them my help. They don’t have an obligation to Youth Ventures; Youth Ventures has an obligation to them.”
For Ennis it’s a no-brainer.
“I would much rather be my own boss than work for someone else and wear a uniform.”