LGBT+ Youth Entrepreneur Program Application

The Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC), with support from the Province of Ontario through the Ontario150 program, and in collaboration with TD Bank, Scotiabank, Freshco, and Higgins & Burke Naturals, is leading the development of an LGBTQ Youth Entrepreneur Support and Mentorship Program in Ontario – “OUT For Business”.

The objective is to establish a program that empowers 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.

Program Summary

The program runs on an annual basis, with up to five qualified applicants selected per year. Applicants are screened to ensure they meet various criteria, including LGBTQ self-identification, age (18-39), and commitment level to starting or growing their own business.

The Program consists of four core components to support LGBTQ Youth Entrepreneurs who are either starting a business or growing their business:

  • Access to funding;
  • Formal mentorship and networking opportunities with entrepreneurs, business leaders and supporters from the community;
  • Business skills development, such as business planning, finance, sales & marketing and human resources;
  • Access to information resources regarding all facets of starting and operating a business.

The Program leverages existing small business/enterprise programs supporting entrepreneurs, however this program is differentiated in a way that specifically assists LGBTQ Youth Entrepreneurs.

Program Outline

Successful applicants will follow these steps in their “program of support”:

  1. Applications are made to the CGLCC for enrolment in the “OUT For Business” program on an annual basis. The deadline for the 2019 intake is January 15th, 2019.
  2. The Selection Committee, comprised of CGLCC board members and “OUT For Business” facilitators, will screen and interview applicants.
  3. Successful applicants will participate in a one-day orientation event, which provides an overview of the program commitments, enrolment and financial obligations, and responsibilities and roles of mentees and mentors. 
  4. Enrolled program participants will receive a “start-up” or “grow” grant to provide funds (cash amount to be determined) to enable them to participate in the program, and commence or build a for-profit business operation.  
  5. Participants will be matched with a suitable LGBTQ Mentor with an established and successful business background, based on their application, interview responses and other relevant criteria.
  1. One-on-one mentoring consultations will be offered to each participant for the one year including 360 assessment, individual development plan (IDP) creation and other psychometric instruments to enable their business development.
  2. Participants will receive a free one-year “OUT For Business” membership to the CGLCC, which includes:
    • Free admission to CGLCC and participating partner events such as training workshops and webinars on strategic business functions (e.g. finance, business development, human resources management);
    • Free admission to CGLCC and participating partner conferences and networking sessions, including the CGLCC Black & White Gala event, taking place November, 2019;
    • Discounted LGBT Supplier Diversity certification application fee;
    • Access to the CGLCC’s “Small Business Enterprise Resources Hub”.
      8. The mentor and/or program facilitator(s) will complete a ‘year-end’ evaluation of the participant’s success in the program. Participants will also be required to complete a program evaluation.

To participate in the program, a MENTEE must:

  • Be a member of the LGBTQ2 community and be willing to be identified as LGBTQ2 and publicized
  • Be registered or in the process of being registered as a legal business entity/sole proprietor or Incorporated in Ontario
  • Agree to complete a MENTEE Profile Form
  • Be prepared to commit for a 12-month period
  • Be 18-39 years of age at the time of application
  • Ensure commitments of the Mentoring Agreement are fulfilled
  • Must be available to attend a full day orientation workshop.

The 2019 call for applications is now open. 

Founding Partners

Program Partners

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