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Call out to young entrepreneurs

City asks youth to come forward with tourism-related business ideas

By: Viola Pruss

  |  Posted: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 06:00 am

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Innovative youth could be bidding their window washing jobs adieu thanks to a new entrepreneurial summer program.

Gen Y CEO is a pilot program by the city’s economic development team. The program was created to encourage “innovative ideas and foster an entrepreneurial spirit” among young residents.

By May 15, local youth can propose a tourism-related business idea to the city and, if successful in their pitch, will receive funding and mentorship to get their business started, said Joan Barber, manager of business retention.

“What we are looking for is a quality idea,” she said. “So we are not judging the applicants on their business plan. Really we want them to pitch a really solid idea to us.”

Business ideas could include everything from providing interpretive tours through the city or taking people on a bike ride or river canoe tour, said Barber.

Youth may also propose selling items, as long as the product is related to St. Albert, made here, or includes people in its creation process.

But primarily the idea must be tourism related and give people an experience, she said.

“Anything that provides an experience to a visitor that would encourage them to spend time in St. Albert,” she said.

Once the deadline for submissions has passed, economic development will assess the ideas and pick the top four teams to pitch their business to a panel. By early June, one or two winners will be selected.

They will then receive mentorship from economic development and the Northern Alberta Business Incubator in St. Albert in developing a business and marketing plan, creating a budget, and instruction on bookkeeping, said Barber.

She added economic development has up to $5,000 available in funding for the winner or winning teams. But the entrepreneurs will also be earning wages.

She stressed that applicants do not need to submit a complete business plan with their application.

“We are just trying to reward a really creative idea,” she said. “Come to us with your great ideas and we will help you turn them into a great summer job for yourself.”

To apply for Gen Y CEO, youth must be between 16 and 19 years old and propose their idea in 1,000 words or less.

Applicants can either submit their idea alone or in a team, and must be willing to operate their business for at least six weeks. The job also requires a minimum of 30 hours per week, but can be split between partners.

Applicants must apply by May 15, 2014. For more information or to download an application form go to cultivatebusiness.ca.


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