Toronto – June 16, 2017: The Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC), with support from the Province of Ontario through the Ontario150 program, and in collaboration with partners across the province, launched the Ontario LGBTQ Youth Entrepreneur Program – #OUTForBusiness – at the 5th Annual LGBT Summit of the Americas in Toronto.
The objective of the #OUTForBusiness Program is to empower LGBTQ Youth Entrepreneurs, 18-39 years old, by providing them with financial support and tailored guidance to help them establish or grow their own businesses. The annual, one year program is built on four pillars:
• Access to Funding
• Building Business Skills
The first round of the program delivery will begin this summer with an initial cohort of LGBTQ Youth Entrepreneurs from across Ontario. Participants will have access to networking opportunities, business “start-up” or “grow” grant funding, learning workshops and webinars, and expert business mentors that have been matched to them based on their current trajectory and needs.
Five cities around the province hosted a program development consultation session this spring with local LGBTQ Youth Entrepreneurs, LGBTQ and allied business leaders, LGBTQ community organizations, business incubators and educational institutions. Outcomes from the sessions helped shape the program framework, roll-out and delivery.
“During the consultation sessions, we heard from LGBTQ Youth Entrepreneurs, partner groups and allies that there is need and opportunity for a program to support small business start-ups and more established ones looking to grow in our community”, said Darrell Schuurman, CEO of the CGLCC. “We are excited to launch the LGBT Youth Entrepreneur Program on the Youth Program Day of the LGBT Summit of the Americas.”
"Being an entrepreneur can be a difficult road to navigate. Being a young LGBTQ entrepreneur adds a few more layers to this challenge because of the barriers faced due to sexual orientation, gender identity, and age” said Annemarie Shrouder, President of Annemarie Shrouder International and Program Partner. “Business support and mentoring programs that not only nurture the entrepreneurial spirit of young LGBTQ entrepreneurs, but acknowledge and address these barriers (within the program and outside of it) can go a long way to ensuring not only success, but resilience."
Over 20 government, corporate and community partners have joined the CGLCC in building and launching the LGBTQ Youth Entrepreneur Program, including Founding Partners Ontario150, Higgins & Burke Naturals, Freshco, Scotiabank and TD Bank Group.
For more information, visit www.cglcc.ca/youth.
Established in 2003, the CGLCC is a national, non-profit industry association committed to forming a broad-based coalition, representative of the various interests of LGBT-owned businesses, allied businesses, corporations, professionals, and students of business for promoting economic growth and prosperity. CGLCC is the certifying body for LGBT-owned businesses in Canada.