Feb 19, 2021

Be Your Own Boss - Empowered Employment update

Project Leadership during Covid
Project Leadership during Covid

Hello friends,

Despite the uncertainties. the stops and starts, and the turmoil of this past year, we are finally getting the opportunity to begin our training program this week! We have identified and accepted 12 young adults for our 4-week training program, and look forward to providing them with several months of follow-up coaching, as some of them build new businesses together and others become more ready for the regular workforce.

Covid-19 restrictions mean that we have had to modify how we would usually gather and usually teach this program:

  • everyone (participants, leaders) is screened daily for possible Covid symptoms
  • to reduce the numbers of people possibly coming into contact with each other, we have divided our learning community into smaller groups in 2 different rooms, with appropriate distancing between everyone
  • when not seated eating or drinking, everyone must remained masked
  • our mid-afternoon break gets everyone outside for a quick walk, while we open up each training room for a fresh air exchange
  • our partner/co-leader, Rebekah Cant, from the Neil Squire Society, is providing key leadership from a distance, via online conferencing tools
  • local business leader guests are coming in by Zoom, as we can't go visit them in their businesses
  • we have also had to modify some activities so that there is no sharing of handout materials

Ever the optimists, we feel that this is an opportune time to take another look at our local business sector, and think perhaps differently about what a 'good business idea' will look like in our post-Covid future. We can learn so much from the local businesses that have been able to find success in the ever-changing present, and will listen keenly to their advice.

All of us sense increasing recognition of the pre-existing challenges that many adults have faced regarding employment, that are simply being un-masked by the current context. We are excited to anticipate what we will learn from the people gathered together for this training, and how we can provide ever-improving and supports and opportunities to this important sector of our community into the future.

Thank you so much for your support which has brought us this far! Stay tuned, to hear how this training turns out!

BYOB grad (2016) supports 2021 training plans
BYOB grad (2016) supports 2021 training plans
Oct 28, 2020

Be Your Own Boss - empowerment during Covid-19

Scott demonstrates the value of a button
Scott demonstrates the value of a button

Thank you so much for keeping us in your thoughts as we all manage our way through Covid-19 challenges! We hope that you and yours are all doing well too.

We are fortunate to live in a part of the world where, through community co-operation, we have kept the worst effects of Covid-19 away from most of the vulnerable people in our region. Our program participants have been committed to following masking and distancing requirements, and for that we are proud. They have also been showing initiative to respond to emerging challenges with creativity and hard work.

If our Covid-19 numbers stay low (as they have so far) we will be running our BYOB Program in January 2021. The program has been reformatted to involve a mix of in-person and online training formats, so that distancing restrictions can be respected, while also allowing each individual some face-to-face training sessions. We are in conversation with colleagues ‘across the marsh’ in Nova Scotia, with hopes that some of their employment development candidates can participate as well. This way, we hope to fill all available spaces.

As with all things, keeping an optimistic attitude, and paying attention to the needs and opportunities of our world are key to success. For example, BYOB candidate, Scott, got an early start, and is being mentored as he leads a new social enterprise on behalf of Open Sky. He is taking orders for ‘a button with your face on it’, so that wearers of masks can be readily identified by their smiling face pin on their lapel. Scott is learning about photography as he takes photos, customer service as he takes orders, and production skills as he makes the buttons. Scott is already an expert in financial management, having completed certification in SAGE Accounting systems a few months ago.

This work experience provides Scott with good professional development. Whether he finds work as a bookkeeper or sets up his own business, these mentored experiences will have been worthwhile.

We can’t wait to see what our additional BYOB candidates will come up with, when they all gather for their training in January!


Jul 6, 2020

Be Your Own Boss - empowerment during Covid-19

garden skills during Covid-19
garden skills during Covid-19

We are grateful to have received so much GlobalGiving donor support as we entered into 'the time of Covid-19'! This meant that, despite uncertainty about the future, one thing we did know was that we would be training more people to start their own businesses and improve their lives and outcomes, this year.

Because local travel and gathering restrictions are now easing somewhat, we are planning to hold a Be Your Own Boss training in early Fall. This new training may look different from previous ones - perhaps smaller learning groups, more web-based trainings and materials, and clear protocols to ensure health and safety - but we are excited to consider how we can take advantage of the local economic needs for new employment and businesses that are emerging during this time of change.

Since March, we have been connecting through a newly-formed regional Task Force created to respond to both the challenges and the opportunities associated with Covid-19. Our role co-chairing the mental health component of the Task Force means that we have new opportunities to better understand and design programs for mental health, while also connecting with those looking at economic development, food security, engagement with youth and a variety of other areas for which new training and jobs can be part of the answer.

We also received some matching funding for the GlobalGiving donations (hurray - there is nothing better than levering some initial funding to get more funding!), so we now have enough resources to go ahead.

So now, we need to modify our training curriculum to meet current gatherings restrictions and to take more advantage of web-based training tools and materials. We need to find a venue big enough to allow for the physical distancing that will be required. We will seek out new well-motivated partners from the business community. And, we need to make ourselves known to the young adults who will benefit from the program.

So far, we have excelled at keeping our programs and participants positive and engaged - we have no doubt we will maintain our momentum for BYOB. 

Thank you so much for your support and interest in this project - and if you have an asset or idea for us for these 'new times', please be in touch!

summer roadside veggie sales
summer roadside veggie sales
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