The Self Employment (SE) Program provides financial assistance, business training and business advice to eligible individuals who want to become self-employed. The SE Program provides a financial benefit for a period of 48 week while the business is being established. The SE Program is delivered by the Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) of Revelstoke in partnership with the Employment Program of BC.
Who can Apply?
Self-employment services are available to British Columbian job seekers who are legally eligible to work in British Columbia, meet the general eligibility requirements for the WorkBC program and meet the following criteria:
- a person who has had annual insurable earnings of more than $2000.00 and paid EI premiums in any 5 years out of the last 10 calendar years; or a person who had an EI benefit period that ended within the previous 60 months; or a person with Disabilities designation or Person with Persistent Multiple Barrier status.
Other criteria may apply. For more information on eligibility for this program, please contact WorkBC.
What Financial Assistance will I receive?
Under the SE Program, if you have an active EI claim, you will receive the greater of your regular EI entitlement or the SE grant (bi-weekly) for the remainder of the claim period. You would then receive the SE grant for the remainder of the program period. Individuals with an eligible past EI claim will receive (bi-weekly) the SE grant for the 48 week period.
How can I Apply?
The first step in applying for the SE Program is to book an appointment with a Case Manager at the WorkBC Employment Services Centre. If appropriate, the Case Manager will refer you to the SE Coordinator who will conduct an orientation session about the program and will provide you with Business Idea Worksheet and Self-Assessment Quiz.
The SE Coordinator will review your Business Idea Worksheet and assessment results and recommend whether or not self-employment is a viable option for you to pursue. If considered viable, you will complete a Self Employment Application and a Business Concept Proposal with your Case Manager at WorkBC. The SE Coordinator will present your application to the SE Committee for approval in which they will be making their decision based on the following criteria:
- The Applicant must be able to provide a marketable product and/or service
- The business idea must fit favorably into the local business mix with competition being taken into consideration
- The applicant must be able to demonstrate that they have access to the financial resources necessary to start the business
Key Characteristics of the SE Program
Once your application has been approved, you will be required to sign agreements with the CFDC. The agreements will outline the terms and conditions of program participation. At this point you will begin collecting the grant and commence the research/planning process. The following is a list of terms and conditions that the participant must agree to:
- To develop a comprehensive business plan within the first 10 weeks of the program
- To devote 35 hours per week for 48 weeks, to develop and implement your business plan
- To maintain proper books and records pertaining to the business and grant access to these records when necessary
- To participate in a minimum of seven workshops recommended by the SE Coordinator
- To submit monthly time logs and financial reports to the SE Coordinator by the 5th of each month