Program helps applicants starting their own businesses

Community Futures celebrated its 2014 graduates at an event at the end of January

The non-profit organization Community Futures celebrated its 2014 class of self-employment program graduates at The Rancho in Abbotsford on Jan. 30.

Thirty-two graduates recently completed the year-long provincially funded economic development program, which provides financial support, training and mentorship to eligible applicants starting their own businesses.

In addition to dinner, speeches, and a trade show featuring program-associated businesses, there was an awards ceremony for 2014 graduates who achieved significant success in their first year of operation. Sagir Patel of SP Technologies, Nancy Sadler of Nancy’s Dog Grooming, and Lisa Hiemstra of Engravex all received business excellence awards.

According to BC Stats, as of 2013, 98 per cent of businesses in British Columbia were small, with fewer than 50 employees, and a full 81 per cent were classified as micro-businesses, with fewer than five employees. But the economic significance of small and micro businesses is no guarantee of success. In 2012, Industry Canada reported that 50 per cent of businesses fold before their fifth year of operation and 15 per cent do not make it past the first year.

Community Futures reports that it has a 91 per cent success rate of launching new ventures that add sustainable value, employment, and revenue to their local communities.

For more information, or to learn more about the Community Futures self-employment program, visit http://www.communityfutures.ca/business-programs.