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Welcome and Overview

Hello and Welcome to the “YMCA  Self-Employment Program!”

Hay ch qa’ sii’em siye’yu mukw mustimuxw.

In keeping with regional protocol, The YMCA staff, and administration would like to acknowledge and thank the the Coast Salish peoples, including Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, Kwantlen, Katzie, Semiahmoo, Tsawwassen and Sto:lo Nations, for allowing participants, staff, facilitators and administration to teach, learn, live and share educational experiences on the traditional territories of these nations.


Getting Started

While you’re hopefully excited to take the leap and become an entrepreneur, we know it can also be nerve-wracking to think about learning online.

In the next section, we will help you out with:



– Let’s Review the Game Plan.

Becoming an entrepreneur means more than just starting a business and entrepreneurship means something different to everyone. In this introduction, we’ll outline the main goals of the program and why it is important to develop a business plan.

The Business Plan development stage of this program consists of 10 weeks, which are divided into multiple parts and correspond to sections of a Business Plan. As you submit weekly Business Plan assignments, you will receive feedback and advice on your ideas.

All the activities and exercises are structured so that they lead into writing each section of your business plan! They are mandatory for you to progress through the program content.

If you ever need help or support during your journey through this program, please feel free to contact us via email. You will be assigned to work with a Business Advisor, who will reach out to you with an initial phone call. After this, most communication will be through the email tool which you will be learning about in the next section.

Please Note: As we are in the testing phase of course development, you may see errors or inconsistencies in the course. If you find an error, please feel free to report it to us using the Feedback tab on the top navigation bar.



Learning Goal

1. Participants should ensure that they have read the core program information, including the YMCA first day documents, workshop outline, schedule of deliverables, and Business Plan cover sheets; in addition to briefly reviewing the Business Plan Guide (or Workbook if the Business Advisor offers this option) and the Business Plan Template before they start the Learning Activities of Week 1.

2. Participants will move through the program week by week. Each week starts (opens) on Monday morning at 12:00 a.m. and ends (closes) on Sunday p.m. at 11:59.


Ask Yourself

3. Participants will do all the learning activities for the week and that includes the readings and any activities. Some activities may not be for feedback (discussions/worksheets), but they are considered part of the learning (like in a face-to-face class) and will help you to understand and apply the content and will help with your final Business Plan.

Key Insights

4. Participants will be responsible for keeping up with the content, the assignments, and due dates. Good organization is linked to success in online learning, and in your life as an entrepreneur! Use the “My Notes”, “Calendar”, and “My Dashboard” components of the learning platform to help you.

5. All assignments due on an assigned week will be due on that Sunday at 11:59 p.m. (unless otherwise identified) via that Week’s Assignment Submission Page (more details in next section). It is a participant’s responsibility to organize their schedules to complete them. Participants will have access to past weeks content. Permission from your Business Advisor must be requested to submit assignments late, and will only be granted if there is a legitimate reason (such as illness or family emergency).


Reality Check

6. Facilitators and Business Advisors are able to keep track of participant progress. If the Business Advisor feels the participant is falling behind and is struggling, they will contact the participant and work together to ensure that they are understanding the content and that they are moving towards success. A lack of participation can result in removal from the program

7. If you have questions, concerns or are struggling, please contact your Business Advisor.



Case Study

We’ll be following the stories of two past participants of the program as they worked through the steps to create their business plans and launch successful businesses.

Sarah’s Pet Care Services

Jake’s Painting Services

Summary + Next Steps

Does a business plan make startup success inevitable? Absolutely not. But great planning often means the difference between success and failure. Where your entrepreneurial dreams are concerned, you should do everything possible to set the stage for success.

And that’s why a great business plan is one that helps you succeed.

This program is a comprehensive guide to creating a great business plan. We’ll start with an overview of key concepts. Then we’ll look at each section of a typical business plan.

While you may use your business plan to attract investors, partners, suppliers, etc… Never forget that the goal of your business plan is to convince YOU that your idea makes sense, and to open your mind to adjusting as you gain new insights.


Because ultimately it’s your time, your money, and your effort on the line.

Tip: At the beginning of each module you'll find a Looking Ahead topic like this one that sets up what's to come. And, at the end, you'll find a Looking Back, which gives you a quick summary and wrap-up of what you've learned.