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S M A L L B U S I N E S S M O N T H - S U P P L E M E N T T O T H E W I N N I P E G F R E E P R E S S - S A T U R D A Y , O C T O B E R 1 9 , 2 0 1 9 By Jennifer McFee for the Free Press T he future is bright for young entrepreneurs looking to launch a small business in Manitoba. For more than two decades, Futurpreneur Canada has been boosting aspiring entrepreneurs aged 18 to 39 through financing, mentorship and other support tools. "We launched in 1996 as a national not- for-profit in response to a lack of action by banks and other lenders to help with the youth unemployment levels at that time," said Scott Bowman, senior director for Ontario and the Prairies. "We were launched to help young people see entrepreneurship as something they could more easily pursue and as a vehicle for them to receive collateral-free financing and mentorship to actually launch a business anywhere in Canada." Since then, Futurpreneur Canada has continued to provide free resources with many options available through its website at, including an interactive tool to help with writing business plans. "So many people come to us with a great idea that have never written out their business plan in a document," Bowman said. "We launched our Business Plan Writer in 2013 and well over 110,000 people have accessed it since then. It's incredible." In addition, Futurpreneur Canada recently increased its loan limit to provide up to $60,000 in financing for young entrepreneurs. Anyone who accesses financing is also paired with a mentor that can provide business advice and encouragement. "It's a collateral-free, equity-free loan. The secret ingredient is not just the financing but it's also the mentor. For everybody who gets a loan from Futurpreneur, the mentor is mandatory," Bowman said. "Most people say that the financing helped but it was the mentorship that really made the difference. It's a two-year relationship that we set them up for and we ask that mentors be available for up to four hours a month. Over time, a relationship really does develop." The mentors are able to share first-hand knowledge and advice with the budding business owners. "It's about instilling confidence and inspiration but also learning. The mentors pass on their knowledge of the challenges they experienced and how to overcome them," Bowman said. "It's also making sure they know it's not always going to be easy, but it's going to be worth it — as long as they're willing to fight for their idea." Here in Manitoba, Futurpreneur has helped 432 businesses to launch over the years. "We've been very active in Manitoba since the beginning. We've had a lot of successes that have come out of the province. For example, SkipTheDishes was a Futurpreneur-supported entrepreneur," Bowman said. "We're working with a lot of entrepreneurs right now all across Manitoba and in all different sectors, too, not just tech or agri-tech. It's also food service, retail and service-based businesses. Entrepreneurship is big in Manitoba with everything from senior care and food delivery to health and wellness. Manitoba is really one of our up- and-coming regions across the country." Looking ahead, Futurpreneur Canada will serve as the Canadian host for Global Entrepreneur Week from Nov. 18 to 24. "Local organizations, groups, entrepreneurs and partners of ours will put on events throughout the week celebrating entrepreneurship," Bowman said. "We've got events happening across the country." Throughout Canada, young entrepreneurs view business ownership as a way to express themselves, he added. "For young people, what matters is the impact. They want to do something that matters. They want to make money, but they don't want to harm the planet and they want to make sure that they're helping people while doing it," Bowman said. "It's a great shift. Any time people have ideas, we'd love to sit down and talk with them about launching their business." ❚ Everyone benefits from SAFE Work PAVING THE PATH FOR YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS Lead. Connect. Grow. Be a part of the Chamber community. SMALL BUSINESS MONTH OCTOBER 2019 Left: Scott Bowman is Futurpreneur's senior director for Ontario and the Prairies. Right: Team member David Lipinski addresses a crowd at the Rock My Business Plan event. Photos courtesy of Futurpreneur View online at For advertising information, call: 204-697-7389

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