It’s being called an encouraging development for entrepreneurial youth in Sault Ste. Marie and across Northern Ontario.
$535,000 in funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Future Fund Program for Sault Ste. Marie’s NORDIK Institute was announced Friday by Sault Ste. Marie MPP David Orazietti at Algoma University’s Great West Life Amphitheatre.
Orazietti is pictured here with Dr. Gayle Broad of the NORDIK Institute, Robin Sutherland of Thinking Rock Community Arts, and Algoma University President Dr. Richard Myers.
The Northern Ontario Research, Development, Ideas and Knowledge (NORDIK) Institute was formed in 2007 as a joint project between Algoma University and its Community Economic and Social Development (CESD) Program, a partnership dedicated to addressing important economic and social issues related to Northern Ontario communities.
The funding announced Friday will be used over a three-year period to compile necessary research for, and provide mentoring services to, young people with a desire to start up their own businesses.
Robin Sutherland of Thinking Rock Community Arts became involved with NORDIK eight months ago and told Friday’s audience job opportunities for youth in the arts, for example, do indeed exist.
“I always knew when I left Thessalon that I wanted to come back to the North. When I left my full-time job in Toronto to pursue a career in art, I knew that I was obviously taking a huge personal, financial and social risk. It goes against the grain and it’s not the conventional way of doing things.”
“Those are the risks entrepreneurs take,” Sutherland stated. “I know programs like this contribute to a community’s economic and social development. Entrepreneurs identify needs and fill those needs, in environmental and social services, community gardens and many other applications that contribute to quality of life and make communities more attractive to live and work in.”
Dr. Gayle Broad told SooToday.com: “Youth often have an idea, but we will help provide them with the knowledge to put it into place.”
Youth will be given advice on budgeting, time management skills and provided with information in regards to identifying various funding options to make their entrepreneurial dreams become reality, Broad told us.
Three full-time mentors in connection with the project will be hired across the North, one of them possibly in Sault Ste. Marie, Broad said.
A website will be developed to promote the project, she added.
Interested youth may contact the NORDIK Institute for more information.
Orazietti said Friday programs such as these will help address youth unemployment.
The MPP said: “Youth unemployment in Ontario is at 16 percent. That’s unacceptably high. We need to work harder to keep our youth in the North. We don’t want them to feel there’s no alternative for them.”
A news release issued by the office of MPP David Orazietti follows.
Orazietti announces $535,000 for NORDIK and partners to enhance and expand youth employment and mentoring infrastructure
Province invests to diversify opportunities for youth in Northern Ontario
SAULT STE. MARIE - The province is investing $535,000 to support youth entrepreneurs in Northern Ontario through a unique program developed by the Northern Ontario Research Development Institute (NORDIK Institute) and collaborative partners, David Orazietti MPP announced today.
Funding for the program is being delivered through the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Future Fund Program and will be used by the NORDIK Institute and its thirteen partners over three years to create spaces for Youth Social Entrepreneurship (YSE) and practitioners to communicate, network, and learn from one another as well as to establish a sustainable organization.
“Our government is addressing higher-than-average rates of youth unemployment in northern Ontario by providing young people with the infrastructure they need to create and support social enterprise initiatives and opportunities that are both viable and sustainable,” said Orazietti. “This investment will make a positive impact in rural and smaller urban centres, First Nations and urban Aboriginal communities, and Francophone, Anglophone and newcomer communities.”
“NORDIK is honoured to be a part of this tremendous partnership across Northern Ontario, which has come together to develop the infrastructure to support young people – our future leaders – to become social entrepreneurs,” said Dr. Gayle Broad, director of research, NORDIK Institute (Algoma University). “Over the next three years, we will build a network of organizations and communities, led by youth, who will learn, share skills, and participate in regional and First Nations development. By fostering the development of social entrepreneurs, youth shall be encouraged to use business skills to develop enterprises which support the social well-being of communities and groups which are often marginalized by the dominant economy.”
The funding will create a model of collaboration and leadership to address the geographic, linguistic and cultural diversity of the region.
Expected results include an organizational structure and a model designed to increase support and opportunity for Northern youth social entrepreneurs and strengthen the network of YSEs and sector participants, service providers, business, community and community organizations.
In the first year, a youth placement program with social enterprises and businesses will be established as part of the learning community; and Change Lab for face-to-face dialogue for YSEs, northern investors, service providers, academics and other stakeholders.
The Ontario Trillium Fund introduced the Future Fund as part of its commitment to invest in Ontario’s future.
The Future Fund supports projects that create significant and sustainable change in a specific area using distinct and innovative approaches.
In 2012-13, the Future Fund focused specifically on strengthening the infrastructure for social entrepreneurship and social enterprise for youth in Ontario by expanding employment and mentoring opportunities for youth.
The approvals process for the Future Fund is different than the one used for community and province-wide grants.
Applicants meet with the Future Fund committee on more than one occasion to present their application.
In 2009, ProtoLaunch Group (c/o Sault Ste.Marie Innovation Centre) received $461,800 over three years from the Future Fund to provide employment-related skills, training and experience for youth in Northern Ontario and foster economic growth in the video game industry
Future Fund Grant Application
Northern Ontario Research Development Institute for Knowledge (NORDIK)