October 19, 2004

Community Futures of North & Central Hastings and South Algonquin's Business Builders Program
The Business Builders Program, the first of its kind in Ontario, provides free workshops that highlight the merits of entrepreneurship to children aged between 9 to 15 years.  Hosted by the Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) for North & Central Hastings and South Algonquin, the Bancroft-based program is designed to get the best out of young participants through discovery, examination and adventure.
When the chance of sustainable employment is so slim, Business Builders fills a much-needed void.  The North Hastings region suffers with high unemployment and limited opportunities for higher-paid employment, explained Bob Cloes, General Manager of CFDC.  "Some community members are turning later in life to self-employment, very poorly prepared, out of desperation."
"The Business Builders Program is designed to provide an opportunity for learning entrepreneurial skills in a creative way, and encourage our community's youth to consider self-employment as a career objective … not as a last resort," added Cloes.
Since it began in 2001, 45 students have availed themselves of the Program - of those, approximately 18 have launched their own business.  "One of this year's graduates is running an advertising business, 'Laura's Amazing Advertising', with one very successful event under her belt.  Ten days after Business Builder's graduation:  one participant is dog walking; one (opened) 'Bakery Treats'; and another, Josh, has formed a company called 'Baby Cakes', which specializes in unique baby shower gifts, said a proud Cloes.