Launch!: Youth Community Economic Development Initiative
This program of the Community Social Planning Council, in partnership with the Community Micro Lending Society, will give young people in the Capital Region the opportunity to create or scale up enterprises that create employment and contribute to community social, economic and environmental well-being.
The program is inspired by the many examples of youth led social entrepreneurship in our region and other places, through locally owned enterprises that create jobs, help young people create sustainable livelihoods for themselves and others, and harness their vision and passion for a more people and community-centered economy. Non-profit social enterprises, cooperatives, micro-enterprises, social purpose and social value businesses, green enterprises are a growing component of our regional economy, many of them led by or engaging young people who face the toughest transitions in our economy and labour market.
The Community Council tested the idea for the project with two events in April 2011. One, “Doing It Better Together” profiled and explored innovative initiatives contributing to poverty reduction and prevention in the region. The event had a high participation of young people interested in networking and supporting social entrepreneurship. We also held a “Youth and Community Economic Development” workshop with twenty young people co-sponsored by a range of agencies interested in community economic development.
There was consensus by participants in both events that more needed to build on the assets of young people in the community as opposed to a “deficit” based approach that focuses on their deficiencies. There was also an interest in supporting Community Economic Development or CED as one approach to reducing poverty.
Community Economic Development: action by people locally to create economic opportunities and enhance their social and environmental conditions on a sustainable basis, particularly with those who are most disadvantaged.
Based on this feedback and the significant body of research supporting this approach, we partnered with the Community Micro Lending Society on a project to address the gap in programs and social infrastructure in the region, and to support healthy and sustainable transitions for young people into employment and self-employment.
The training program involves weekly evening sessions for participants over a three-month period.
Next Launch! program starts Spring 2013
The LAUNCH! program provides:
Mentorship is a cornerstone to the success of the Launch! program. We match program participants with entrepreneurs and leaders from the community who share their knowledge and time to ensure higher business success and personal empowerment. We welcome people with business knowledge and skills, motivational capacity, and passion for the community to join our team of mentors. For more information write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in contributing to this growing movement but can’t commit to mentoring right now?
Launch! Community Workshops
Are you a community or youth-serving organization that would like to learn more about how youth are involved in creating economic change and sustainable futures? We deliver workshops for youth from 1-3 hours in length that explore: the importance of keeping money in the local economy, the global movement for sustainable social and economic development and poverty reduction, and how youth are involved in creating economic alternatives. The workshops are free to interested organizations. For more information, please contact email@example.com
News, Resources, and Events
Learn more about the first Launch! entrepreneurs.
Youth in Charge: Leading Change through CED Project of the Canadian CED Network.
Funding for this program generously provided by: