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Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?
Before you get started, it is critical to realistically assess your potential as
an entrepreneur. To do this, you need to:
- Understand the personal attributes needed for starting a successful business and
evaluate your managerial skills
- Understand the demands an entrepreneurial career will have on you and your family
- Assess your financial position
For a quick online quiz visit Youth Employment Services,
or try a more thorough online assessment from the Business Development
Bank of Canada.
Explore New Business Ideas
While every opportunity starts with an idea, not every idea represents a viable
business opportunity. Distinguish between ideas and real opportunities by asking
- Does the idea solve or satisfy some consumer want or need? Is there a demand?
- How much competition is there? If anyone has tried this concept, what happened to
- Can the idea be turned into a business that will be profitable?
- Do you have the skills needed to take advantage of the opportunity?
To find information on current trends, read books like Brave New Unwired World
and Organics, Inc., or browse our collection of Industry Files, magazines,
and daily newspapers in the Career Resource Library.
Exploring opportunities in franchising may be an attractive possibility if you want
to go into business for yourself while taking advantage of the support that an established
company can provide. To find out more, check out:
Starting a non-profit organization or charity
A more socially-active route for enterprising minds is to start a non-profit organization.For
more information visit Charity Village or for
tax information visit the Canada Revenue Agency.
Will your idea actually work? Conduct your market, cost, and profitability assessments
in order to move your venture from the idea stage to the marketplace. Read chapters
6 & 7 in Building a Dream for practical tips. For market data consult
the Toronto Region Business and Market Guide by the Toronto Board of Trade (available
in the Career Resource Library).
Develop a Business Plan
A business plan is a detailed, written "action plan". This will help you
outline your future endeavor, and is required by most financial backers to prove
you are likely to succeed.
- Read library books like The Successful Business Plan by Rhonda Abrams for sample
- Use the Business Startup Assistant from the Canada Business Service Centre for more information,
including links to plan-writing tools.
Secure Financing / Funding
Finding funding can be a challenge, but there are many resources available to help
get your small business off the ground. Consult the Guide to Canadian Grants & Assistance
Programs (in the Career Resource Library) for over 1,000 sources of funding. Some
of the most popular resources include:
- The Youth and Student programs from the government
of Ontario offer programs specifically for young people starting a business. Through
the Summer Company program, you can qualify for a loan of up to $3,000.
Canadian Youth Business Foundation is a non-profit, private-sector initiative
designed to provide mentoring, business support and lending to young Canadian entrepreneurs
who are creating new businesses.
- Sources of Financing is a new leading-edge product
on Strategis based on a sophisticated and powerful search engine.
- Accessing Government
Funding is an in-depth guide to getting funded by various government programs
from Canada One Magazine.
The Business Development Bank of Canada is Canada's small business bank, offering
financial services, consulting services, subordinate financing and venture capital.
Education and Development
There are a number of services that offer free training and support for aspiring
entrepreneurs. Some of the most popular include:
Enterprise Toronto offers a number of seminars such as "Marketing"
and "Business Planning", as well as free one-hour consultations to give
feedback on your business plan.
- The YMCA of Metropolitan
Toronto offers a number of free programs and services that can help you start
your own business.
Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship (ACE) is a college and university based
not-for-profit organization with chapters, including one at U of T. ACE offers an
annual international conference, a newsletter and an Entrepreneur’s Resource Kit.
The University of Toronto Entrepreneur Club (UTEC) is open to all students,
staff, faculty and alumni of U of T. UTEC provides resources and special events.
A great way to network!