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Northpine Foundation invests in Youth Ventures Program to Empower Newfoundland & Labrador Youth Entrepreneurs  

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St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, March 11 2024 

Northpine Foundation has invested $375,000 in the Venture Box – Youth Ventures Program by the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Community Business Development Corporations (NLACBDC). This initiative aims to bridge the entrepreneurial education gap for youth in rural Newfoundland and Labrador and support the establishment of 450 youth-run businesses over the next 3 years.

With 60% of NL’s population in rural areas and only 5% of businesses established there, establishing, and supporting new businesses is crucial for creating thriving rural communities. Entrepreneurship education is vital, helping youth appreciate the role of small businesses in supporting communities, providing products and services, and creating meaningful employment. 

The Venture Box – Youth Ventures Program, piloted successfully in 2022, offers curated business-in-a-box kits to youth, featuring step-by-step entrepreneurship curriculum guides and materials for starting pre-packaged businesses. Themes include Indigenous Beadwork, Lip Balm, Cake Pop, Candy Kabob, and Tie-Dye. The program has already distributed over 400 of these kits.

“The Venture Box initiative is an innovative approach to engaging youth in entrepreneurship. As they gain hands-on experience and essential skills, we are building the foundation for the next generation of innovative business and community leaders who see entrepreneurship as a tool for their own success, and to help their rural communities thrive.” Roseanne Leonard, Executive Director, NL Association of Community Business Development Corporations. Inc. 

With the investment from the Northpine Foundation, this initiative will now aim to engage 1500 youth at the entry level, addressing critical challenges, such as limited access to entrepreneurial curriculum, lack of hands-on experience, and insufficient knowledge about budgeting and financial planning.

 “With a mandate to support initiatives that help communities thrive, the Venture Box aligns perfectly with our mission. This investment will amplify the program’s reach, fostering entrepreneurship and skills development among Newfoundland and Labrador’s youth. The impact goes beyond establishing a business, it offers youth a sense of innovation and self-sufficiency, and the choice to stay in their hometowns and create jobs instead of moving away to look for work” said Impact Director, Mark Lane.

Future plans include dedicated Venture Box programming for school-aged youth, promoting entrepreneurship, career exploration, and skills development. The long-term vision includes recognizing young entrepreneurs through provincial Youth Ventures awards and collaborating with other organizations to diversify the range of kits offered and expand the distribution network to reach more youth across the province and the rest of Atlantic Canada.

This venture is a significant step toward building a resilient and vibrant future for communities in rural Newfoundland and Labrador, empowering their youth with the skills and knowledge to contribute to their communities and beyond.

Media Inquiries:

Rachelle White, Project Manager – Communications, Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Community Business Development Corporations Inc, rachelle.white@cbdc.ca

Mark Lane, Impact Director – Rural Newfoundland & Labrador, The Northpine Foundation 
mark@northpinefoundation.ca  1-709-689-8536

About NLACBDC: 

Community Business Development Corporations (CBDCs) are not-for-profit community-based organizations run by volunteers from the local business community who firmly believe in improving the economic viability of their communities. CBDCs assist in the creation of small businesses and start-ups, and in the expansion and modernization of existing businesses by providing financial assistance and business counselling to entrepreneurs.

About Northpine Foundation:

The Northpine Foundation works with a vision to propel and expand outcome-centered innovation in Canada. As a start-up philanthropic organization, Northpine provides catalytic funding through tailored financing (donations, grants, loans, equity, or blend), along with expertise, networks, and other non-financial supports to help underinvested and underserved cohorts thrive and flourish.

Focused on a core value of kindness in every undertaking, the Northpine Foundation designs, funds, and collaborates on initiatives that combine best practices with new, untried approaches to drive scalable change towards a healthy and resilient Canada.

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