According to the City, twelve of the 16 graduates of the first INVEST program are already making money based on their new business ventures. The program provided entrepreneurial training and resources to participating Ontario Works clients and was offered through a partnership with the City of Kingston, St. Lawrence College, Shopify and BizSkills Academy.
“Our graduates have learned how to turn ideas into income and they are out there doing it!” said Laura Rabbie, Manager Social Services. “We are very proud of them and this program.”
The program’s debut class particpants were involved from July 1 to December 31, 2019 and generated thousands of dollars with their business ideas during that time. A total of $310 was earned in July and by December 31 the group had eaned over $6,000 with two participants now self-sufficient and two more planning to open storefronts in the summer.
The course includes a combined 96 hours of learning at Kingston Economic Development events to help them develop their business ideas. The program also helped overcome self-reported issues by particpants at the beginning of the course which included anxiety, health issues, being single parents, employment gaps and a lack of self-confidence.
“This is about building confidence by building ability and knowledge,” said David Osmond, Manager St. Lawrence College, Chair of Ontario Colleges Corporate Training Network. “These results show that this kind of support can breed new business people.”
Preparations for the next INVEST program will start when its partners meet at the end of February and interested Ontario Works clients can ask their Case Managers about the INVEST program for more information.