Be the Boss Program

Ontario Trillium Foundation Logo The Be Your Own Boss program is funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario and in collaboration with Elephant Thoughts, Environment Network and Collingwood Youth Centre, with the specific purpose to create young entrepreneurs by equipping them with vital skills to attain financial independence, ignite their creativity, and provide hope for a sustainable future.  “Entrepreneurship is lacking, yet considered a central force for economic development, as it generates growth and serves as a vehicle for innovation and change.” (TORC Fostering Entrepreneurism in Rural Ontario) 
The project aims to help homeless youth improve their current circumstances. 
Of all the emergency shelter use in 2015, 29% was for youth between the ages of 16 and 24. (Vital Signs-Simcoe Muskoka 2016) . This program will benefit approximately 40 of the most disengaged and vulnerable youth in our community,  all either reside at, or have a connection to The Barbara Weider House (BWH) and are from the Southern Georgian Bay area.
Providing a pathway to entrepreneurship
Based on a business development model that creates a pathway to financial literacy, economic sustainability and the tools to become an entrepreneur, our programming encompasses all aspects of starting and running a business. This includes market research, project management, purchasing, inventory control, sales and marketing, and financial sustainability. The program also includes culinary and nutrition instruction which are essential life skills to this undernourished population. 
About the Barbara Weider House
Barbara Weider House bridges the identified critical gap between emergency shelter and independent living for youth facing challenges due to homelessness, family instability, physical and mental abuse and illness. Poverty, mental health issues, drug and alcohol abuse, family conflict or trouble at school are also major factors in youth homelessness. Understandably, the most basic daily routine; going to school or finding and keeping a job, are daunting if not impossible. 17% of the homeless in Simcoe County are 16-24 years of age (Vital Signs Report, 2016)