CRESTON, BC—What do Mitchell and Sun Renewables and Kimchi Kitchen have in common? Both businesses were launched with support from the Self Employment Program.This program, administered by Community Futures Central Kootenay, has helped a wide-variety of Creston Valley businesses take their business idea and turn it into reality.
“One of the keys to a successful business is a well-considered business plan.” said Amanda Murray, Self Employment Business Counsellor for the Creston area, “So, the first ten weeks of the program are spent in business plan development. During this time, clients attend weekly workshops on market research, bookkeeping, cash flow, pricing, legal considerations, marketing, and more.”
In 2018, electrician Mitchell Nelson launched his business, Mitchell and Sun Renewables. “Had I started this business on my own,” said Nelson, “I may not have done such in-depth market research. By speaking to my competition and contemporaries, I made connections and learned where my skills and services were most needed.” Two years later, Mitchell and Sun Renewables is even busier than expected, providing electrical services and sustainable solar power to homes and businesses in the Creston Valley.
Narae Kang, owner of Kimchi Kitchen, began the program in October 2019. Since opening in May, she’s already developed a devoted following. “Receiving the living supports gives me the freedom to focus on my business without worrying about bills.” said Kang. “And the ongoing business mentorship from the Self Employment staff helped me troubleshoot challenges and improve my business along the way.”
The Self Employment Program helps unemployed and underemployed people find meaningful work running their own business. This include 48 weeks of living supports, business training, mentorship, and business tools The program also offers a reduced-hours version for persons with disabilities or persistent multiple barriers.
With the current pandemic, business has changed. It has created challenges for some businesses and opportunities for others. For many people on EI or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, the door has been opened for Self Employment Program eligibility.
Interested candidates can book an appointment with an employment counsellor at Kootenay Employment Services Society to find out if they are eligible.
Want feedback on your business idea? Contact Amanda Murray at ac.cb.serutuf@yarruma to set-up a free business counselling appointment.