Do you have a small business idea?

Need help converting your idea to a viable small business?

Join the Youth Small Business Program.

Launch a new business.

Become self-employed.

The Youth Small Business Program is designed for individuals aged 16-29 with a history of mental health or addiction challenges. This includes a group training program where participants will gain practical tools, business knowledge and confidence, while converting their business idea into a viable business plan. Completion of the program comes with  the opportunity to access Rise financing to grow your business!

Our program provides:

1. Creative and interactive training for business idea development. Rise works in collaboration with the Rotman School of Management’s Designworks.
2. Training and support to develop a concrete business plan.
3. Personalized guidance for each participant to meet individual needs and ensure success.
4. A certificate of completion.
5. Eligibility to apply for low interest rate business loans.

The program is an interactive opportunity to learn essential business and financial skills while developing the confidence required to run your business.



Are you:

1. 16-29 years old
2. Have a history of  mental health or addiction challenges (anorexia, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, drug additions, post-traumatic stress etc.)
3. Have a great idea for a small business!
4. Have difficulty acquiring capital (financing) to turn your idea into a reality
5. Live in the GTA (training will be held at the Rotman School of Management - University of Toronto)

If you answered yes to the above questions, you may be eligible for our program!



The program is focused on giving participants an opportunity to transform business ideas into achievable business plans. The sessions include:

Workshops: Interactive sessions taught by Rotman faculty, alumni and guest instructors— industry experts. Participants work together and discuss business concepts to grow and develop their business goals.

Coaching:  Participants will receive one-on-one and team coaching from volunteers within the Rotman community (Rotman MBA alumni) and from the small business/ entrepreneurial community.

Self-Directed Learning: Learning does not stop at the classroom door. At home, participants have access to online resources and support and use a specially designed Business Plan Workbook to develop their business plans throughout the program.

Expectations and Outcomes: All participants must complete a business plan and will have the opportunity to present their plan on the final day of the program to a panel of small business experts. Participants will receive a certificate upon successful completion.

Financing: All participants completing the program will be eligible for Rise financing (up to $25,000, with first loans averaging from $3000 to $5000).


Benefits of the Youth Small Business Program

Develop a practical, action oriented business plan that you can use to implement your business idea.

Learn from experienced business owners and educators in a supportive environment.

Create a business that can earn income for you on a part time basis or as a summer venture while you continue your education.

Explore self employment as a viable career choice by creating a business plan for a full time business.

Receive a small financial incentive and be eligible for start-up financing through Rise.



When:  The program will run from February 6th- April 24th, 2012, on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 5:30 to 8 pm. There will be two Thursday sessions for when holidays land on a Monday.

Applicants must demonstrate a strong commitment to the program by attending regularly and completing a business plan by the end of the program.

Where:  105 St. George Street, Toronto, ON M5S 2E8 (Map)

Cost: The program is free of charge for all participants!


To Apply

**Applications for the Winter Session are currently closed. Our next session will occur during Fall 2013.

1. Download and fill out an application by clicking here.
2. Email your application and a current resume to [email protected] by January 18, 2013.
3. Attend an interview with a Rise team member to discuss your business idea and learn more about the program.
4. Attend a mandatory “Boot Camp” on Wednesday January 23 from 5:30 to 8 pm, and submit a market research assignment. (take home assignment will be given at the Boot Camp session)


Selection will be based on applicant motivation and viability of business idea.

More Information:

If you would like more information on Rise or this program, please feel free to contact us at 647 232 RISE (7473) or at [email protected]. You can also connect with us through Twitter (@riseCAN), and Facebook (Rise Asset Development).


Youth Small Business Program Application


Rise, through the support of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS), is expanding its services by offering a targeted program for youth, aged 16-29 years old, living with mental illness and/or addictions. With the continued support of the Rotman School of Management and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), we will provide microfinancing, training and mentorship to youth entrepreneurs. Rise will leverage existing infrastructure and expertise to assist young entrepreneurs living with mental illness and/or addictions establish viable small businesses across Ontario.