Community Futures of the Central Okanagan has been operating the Business Plan Development Program since 1992, with nearly 2,000 start-ups coming through the program throughout that time. Participants receive business plan development assistance, a variety a business skills development workshops, one-on-one mentoring, and business counselling over a six-week period. Past participants have credited the program with giving them “the practical tools to move my business from the dream stage to an active money earning enterprise”, and have called the program a “critical component” in their business success and “an invaluable source of inspiration, expertise, and guidance.” The peer-to-peer learning has supported past participants in “getting tips, fostering camaraderie, making new connections, and re-energizing.”
While the program has typically been offered primarily to new start-ups and aspiring entrepreneurs, the need for training and support for existing businesses has become vital. The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented effect on local businesses and entrepreneurs, resulting in the need for flexibility and creativity, and forcing many to pivot their business models, service offerings, and approach. These pivots require the support of market validation, financial viability testing, and business planning.
To address this need, Community Futures is expanding the Business Plan Development Program to both new and existing businesses. Participants will benefit from effective and realistic opportunity assessment, comprehensive business plan development, collaboration with peers, and real life experiential learning in hands-on workshops. Existing businesses will gain support in assessing their potential pivots or new service offerings, and building this into a practical plan to guide their business in a pandemic-affected marketplace. The program is currently offered in a virtual classroom format and delivered on a flexible schedule that allows for participants to continue working in their businesses while still attending class discussions. The program is open to for-profits, non-profits, social enterprises, gig workers, and freelancers. Sponsorship and bursaries to cover the cost of the program are available through CFDC.
Beginning with the Opportunity Readiness Workshop, participants will assess the feasibility of their opportunity and their own entrepreneurial skills. From there, a needs assessment and application is completed. This process ensures participants are properly qualified and prepared to proceed with the six-week program.
Interested business owners and entrepreneurs can visit www.cfdcco.com/services/workshops-a-training or call Ali Brent, Program Manager at Community Futures of the Central Okanagan at 250-868-2132 ext. 224 for further program details.
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