October 22, 2004

Guelph, Ontario - The work of a unique employment skills program that encourages youth to consider self-employment as a career choice, has earned itself a prestigious award.
Business Builders - an initiative of the Community Futures Development Cooperation (CFDC) of North and Central Hastings and South Algonquin - is the winner of the Outstanding Rural Youth Achievement Award.  The program was one of seven initiatives to receive recognition at the 6th Annual Awards of Rural Excellence on Oct. 18, 2004.
The Awards, hosted by the Foundation for Rural Living (FRL), recognize and honour rural communities, organizations and groups who, through programs, projects and initiatives, act on their vision of a better rural Ontario.
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.  It 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 Blob 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 the Business Builders' 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.
For more information contact: 
Bob Cloes, General Manager of CFDC, Tel:  1-613-332-5564 
E-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The winners in the remaining six categories are: 
Winner of the Outstanding Partnership with Business Award:  Frontier College's Labourer Teacher Program, Toronto
Winner Excellence in Formal Co-operative Models:  The Progressive Pork Producers Co-operative Limited, Breslau
Winner Excellence in Community Leadership:  The R.E.S.P.E.C.T (Resources, Empowerment, Safety, Prevention, Education, Community building and Training), North Bay
Winner Excellence in Economic Development:  Trent Hills Economic Development Committee, Municipality of Trent Hills
Winner Outstanding Philanthropic Action:  The Bruce Grey Public Education Foundation, Oliphant
Winner Outstanding Volunteerism and/or Partnership in the Voluntary Sector:  Erinsville Recyclers Group, Tamworth

The awards were held at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel in London, Ontario, on Oct. 18, 2004.
For more information, please contact 
Joanne Peach, Communications Specialist 
Foundation for Rural Living 
Tel:  519-826-3815 
Email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Background:  The Awards of Rural Excellence 
The Foundation for Rural Living's (FRL) Awards of Rural Excellence Program began in 1999, to recognize the excellence emerging from rural Ontario and to promote those initiatives to other organizations throughout the province.  Contribution to community and a view toward enhancing and sustaining the future, are the cornerstones of the Awards criteria.  Enterprises being recognized with each award must take place in rural Ontario.  "Rural" includes communities with a population under 50,000.  Amalgamated municipalities of small towns, where the population may exceed 50,000, are also eligible.  Proud sponsors of the 2004 Awards of Rural Excellence Program are Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont Company and founding sponsor, The Co-operators, the Province of Ontario - Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Union Gas and The Ontario Rural Council.

The Foundation for Rural Living 
FRL was founded in 1979 as a non-profit, registered charity.  Our mission is to build sustainable rural capacity and enhance the quality of life for rural citizens, through the growth and development of community investment in the form of philanthropy, citizenship and collaboration.  Various programs and partnership endeavours aim to advance the role and interests of the charitable sector for the benefit of rural communities.
The foundation has initiated and partnered in key programs, including The Ontario Rural Council and the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program.  During the ice storm of 1998, we established the Ontario Rural Relief Fund, which raised over $500,000 for rural communities affected by this disaster.
Disclaimer:  The Foundation for Rural Living does not endorse or maintain the information contained within the above article, with the exception of news releases from the Foundation itself.  In all other instances, any questions reagarding the information contained therein should be referred to the author of the news article listed as the source.