Burns Lake students recently participated in a program that’s been preparing young people to succeed in a global economy.
According to Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate for youth between the ages of 15 and 24 is more than double that of the overall Canadian unemployment rate.
Given that securing employment has been increasingly difficult for young people, the ‘Be entrepreneurial’ program has been inspiring grade nine to 12 students to launch businesses, create jobs and drive the Canadian economy.
The way it works is that volunteers from the local business community partner with classroom teachers to ignite students’ entrepreneurial spirit and help them identify products or services they can take to market.
By the end of program, students have created their own business plan and they pitch it to volunteers from the local business community.
Local volunteers in Burns Lake – including Susan Schienbein, Manager of the Burns Lake and District Chamber of Commerce; Steven Creelman, Kal Tire Manager; and Laura Blackwell, Publisher of Lakes District News – judged the presentations and picked the winners.
Amanda St. Onge was the Burns Lake winner and took home $100; Matthew Thompson took second place, winning $75; and Dominique West took third place, taking home $50.
“The biggest focus, from my perspective, is to encourage youth to consider entrepreneurship,” said Schienbein. “I really like to draw out those young entrepreneurs that have become successful with their idea and reinforcing the idea that not everyone needs to be an employee, some of them need to be the boss.”
Be entrepreneurial is delivered in four one-hour sessions over four to five class visits, at no cost to schools or groups.
The program was created by Junior Achievement, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating young people about business. Their programs are intended to give students the confidence and skills they need to become the next generation of business and community leaders.
The Burns Lake and District Chamber of Commerce sought sponsorship for the program and was able to secure funding from the Burns Lake Community Forest.