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Self Employment Program


Are you an aspiring entrepreneur?                                                    

Have you always dreamed of starting your own business?

self-em*ploy*ment// [self-em-ploi-muhnt] noun: "the act of generating one's income directly from customers, clients or other organizations as opposed to being an employee of a business."


The Self-Employment Program has helped small and home-based businesses by enriching the owner's lives and playing a vital part in our rural economy.

Through this program you will receive instruction and support while developing your business plan. You will also receive ongoing training, mentoring and business coaching while you start and run your business. And if you are eligible you may also receive financial support for the duration of the program. Businesses started through the Self-Employment program have a higher success rate than the national average.

We pride ourselves on helping business to be successful.  Share your idea with us and we will see what we can do to help:


What it is - How it works

What is the Self-Employment Program?

Through this 48-week program you will receive instruction and support while developing your business plan.  You will receive ongoing training, support, and business coaching while you start and run your business.  And if eligible, you may also receive financial support for the duration of the program.  There is also potential financial assistance care and travel while you participate in the ten week Business Plan Development Program.

Our experience with thousands of entrepreneurs has taught us, "success is made, not born". If you have the raw materials - a good product or idea, determination, and passion - we provide the practical training, one-on-one coaching, support, and guidance to help you start and run a successful business.

How does the Self Employment Program work?

The 48 week Self-Employment program is broken into two components.  During the first ten weeks of the program you attend approximately one or two virtual workshops per week.  We are also there to guide you to success through one-to-one counselling and support while you research and develop a thorough business plan.  We cover business topics such as:

  • Market Research
  • Managing business operations
  • Financial Management: budgeting, cash flow
  • Obtaining financing
  • Sales, Marketing, and Social Media

After what will seem like a very short ten weeks, you will launch your business.  During the next 38 weeks we are still here helping you with one-on-one coaching and support, relevant training workshops, and yes, some hand holding!  Income benefits (for up to 48 weeks) to assist new entrepreneurs with their personal living expenses while they-re establishing their businesses may be available for clients eligible through the following channels:

a. On an Active Employment Insurance (E.I.) Claim (active E.I. claimant); or                                              

b. Has received E.I. Benefits in the past (reach-back E.I. client or former E.I. claimant); or 

c. Has earned more than $2,000 in insurable earnings and paid E.I. employee premiums on those earnings in at least five (consecutive or non-consecutive) of the previous ten  calendar years.  For others who are applying for the program, please discuss financial supports with your Employment Counselor at your local WorkBC Employment Services Centre. Income earned by the business can then be reinvested back into the business allowing it to become self sufficient once the funding ends.


NOTE: more detailed information about the program's financial support will be covered during orientation.  Questions? Give us a call at (250) 453-9165 or email


 Criteria and Eligibility

Interested in the Self-Employment (SE) Program?

The Self-Employment Program is open to individuals who meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • On an Active Employment Insurance (E.I.) Claim (Active E.I. Claimant)
  • Has received E.I. Benefits in the past (Reach-back E.I. Client or Former E.I. Claimant); or
  • Has earned more than $2,000 in insurable earnings and paid E.I. employee premiums on those earnings in at least five (consecutive or non-consecutive) of the previous ten calendar years.
  • Currently receiving B.C. Benefits with a persons with Disabilities (PWD) status, or Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers (PPMB) status
  • Person with a disability who may or may not be receiving any other forms of support (e.g. CPP disability)

As well as:

  • Be unemployed or underemployed.  An underemployed worker works 20 or less hours per week on average.  For clarification on underemployed status please contact your local WorkBC Services Centre.
  • Live in the Sun Country Region
  • Want to start a business that is 'new to you'
  • Have a minimum 51% controlling interest in the business
  • Be legally entitled to work in BC
  • Propose a business concept that is legal and suitable for public funding
  • Demonstrate a minimum personal investment in the business showing that you are investing in the start-up of your business
  • Plan to work full time (35 hours per week) in your business or a minimum 20 hours per week for those with a disability


Eligible Business Structures

The acceptable types of business structures for SE are:

  • Sole proprietorship: the SE participant owns 100% of the business and has complete control of the business.
  • Partnership: the partnership agreement must reflect that the SE participant(s) is a general partner, the major decision maker(s), and has control of the venture. B.C. Employment Assistance (BCEA) clients must confirm the impacts pf partnership arrangements on ongoing BCEA eligibility with the Ministry.
  • Corporation: the SE participant (or SE participants) intending to form a corporation must jointly hold the majority of voting shares.
  • Cooperative: the SE participant(s) intending to be an owner/member in a new worker cooperative must solely or jointly have control over the SE venture.
  • Franchise: an individual interested in opening a franchise operation may be supported under SE if they have some flexibility with respect to operating the franchise and making business decisions.

 Self-Employment Program Application Process

1. Contact Community Futures to determine eligibility for the Self Employment Program.

2. Attend the Self-Employment Program Orientation.

During the orientation, you will:

  • learn how the Self-Employment programs works;
  • complete an entrepreneurial self-assessment;
  • receive and learn how to complete the Business Concept Application;
  • learn how to conduct market research tools to help you with your Business Plan.

3. Submit your Business Concept Application

From the Self-Employment Program orientation, you will have approximately two weeks to complete your Business Concept Application.

4. Self-Employment Committee reviews your Business Concept Application

The Self-Employment Committee - made up of local volunteers - will review your application and determine if you will continue into the ten week Business Plan Development phase of the Self-Employment Program.

5. Contract signing

If your Business Concept Application is approved, you will sign formal contracts and the ten week Business Plan Development phase starts approximately two weeks later.  If eligible to receive living supports, you will be paid during the ten week Business Plan Development phase while you research and write your business plan.


 Self-Employment FAQ




Government of Canada
Pacific Economic Diversification Canada
Societe de developpement economique
Pour obtenir le service en français appeler 1-877-732-3534


Community Futures Sun Country recognizes and acknowledges with gratitude we are collectively gathered on the ancestral, traditional, and unceded territories of the Nlaka'pamux, Secwepemc, St’átl’imx, and Stó:lō Nations where we live, learn, collaborate and work together


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Growing communities one idea at a time

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PO Box 1480
Ashcroft BC V0K 1A0
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