The Self Employment Assistance (SEA) program recently celebrated the opening of one of its participants’ new business, as well the hiring of the program’s 100th community employee.
The SEA program is a government sponsored program which helps qualified individuals open up and run their own business, explained Carla Kingston-Floyd, program coordinator, based at St Lawrence College.
“Participants learn how to do their own bookkeeping, financial forecast, marketing, selling, how to write a business plan.”
She says that after eight weeks potential entrepreneurs will have completed a business plan which is then assessed for viability. “Then they get to go out and actually start this business.”
“We don’t leave them all on their own; they are assigned a mentor from the program that meets with them once a month to help them with any ongoing issues that they may have. The best thing about the program is the support.”
The participant in this case was Julie Brisebois, who attended the February/March SEA program session and opened up her restaurant, Get Cracking, in June.
Brisebois, who had worked in the food service industry for several years had been laid off, and is now the proud owner of her own restaurant located on Pitt and Sixth Streets. “I love it,” she said. “I enjoy working with the public.”
“The program was fantastic. It prepared us with all our accounting, how to market, how to advertise, everything you could think of. If I could, I’d do it over again.”
Brisebois hopes to run her restaurant as long as she is able to and already has plans to expand her services to include catering as well.
While in the program, the government pays participants’ tuition as well as $423, less income, tax for 42 weeks, as they start up their business, even if they shows a profit, explains Kingston-Floyd.
As well as having helped with start-up of many community businesses, such as Coffee’s Coffee, HipKids and Image-ine Photography, SEA businesses have also provided employment to members of the general public outside the program.
Chris Hickley was recently hired on full-time as head cook, making him the 100th external employee through SEA.
For further information about the program or its eligibility requirements, contact Carla Kingston-Floyd, at (613) 933-6080, extension 2246.