Dear Stakeholders, 2019 was a year marked by organizational growth for Venture for Canada. Growth characterized by the number of youth served, the number of provinces we operate in, and the types of programs that we run. According to a recent McKinsey study, while 83% of educators feel youth are ready for work, only 34% of employers and 44% of youth agree. There is an increasing disconnect between the skills that young people have and the skills that young people need. Increasingly, in a rapidly changing world, young people need entrepreneurial skills, such as creativity, adaptability, and nimbleness, to succeed. Venture for Canada empowers youth to pursue entrepreneurial careers and create positive social, economic, and environmental impact. Through profiling the stories of VFC Fellows, Interns, and Fellow alumni, this report illustrates the positive influence that Venture for Canada has on young people, small businesses, and communities across this country. Since its humble beginnings six years ago, the Fellowship program’s impact has grown considerably. The annual cohort has tripled in size, and the program’s influence has expanded to six provinces, including most recently British Columbia. From the organization’s earliest days, there has been a significant emphasis on the importance of community. It’s wonderful to see the social bonds and friendships that exist amongst Fellow alumni even years after completing the program. We are also thrilled to see the recent launch of the Fellow Alumni Council, which will design, build, and execute programming by and for alumni. The Internship program also experienced significant growth last year. Nearly 300 students participated in 2019. In the upcoming year, we are excited to expand the impact of the Internship program to Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia, as well as deliver new innovative training to support VFC’s Interns from coast to coast. Over the last six years, Venture for Canada has grown into a community of thousands of people, including Fellow alumni, Fellows, Interns, staff, volunteers, employers, and supporters. We want to thank everyone whose contribution helped make 2019 such a year of growth and for making the #vfccommunity so dynamic. The recent COVID-19 crisis demonstrates more than ever the need for VFC’s programs as recent graduates and students across Canada are struggling to find employment. We remain as committed as ever to enriching the entrepreneurial ecosystem during this challenging and unprecedented time. Parm Gill Chair of the Board of Directors Scott Stirrett Founder & CEO
My Challenge Before VFC? I always felt I had an 'entrepreneurial spirit' but knew I was using it only within the safety of an existing enterprise. Hearing entrepreneurs speak about their journeys and the challenges they overcame changed my perspective. It ignited the idea that entrepreneurship is something that I could take on. Aspects of the experience that were essential to your development? The Internship Program gave me a chance to regain confidence in my ‘work’ skills. VFC delivers insightful content in an engaging way–participants really feel that VFC is invested in your success. Through the virtual learning assignments I developed and applied skills before returning to the work world. What changed? I’m now part of a network of engaged, visionary people. It motivates me to continue to develop my skills and approach issues with the entrepreneurial and creative mindset that the Venture for Canada program alumni share.