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Self-Employment Training Program

At the Y, we believe in your potential to develop and grow a successful business. Our Self-Employment program provides essential services to help turn a great business idea into successful self-employment.

All of the trainers and coaches of our Self-Employment Program are self-employed business owners who possess diverse experience and expertise. Upon acceptance to the program, you will be assigned a coach to assist on the development of your business plan, as well as other business coaching needs. The amount of total assistance given, in terms of hours, will vary and is dependent upon a participant’s individual needs.

Program Components

The Self-Employment Program is run in three phases.

Phase 1 consists of:

  • 4 weeks of full-time, mandatory courses directly related to setting up and operating a business as well as the development of a business plan

Phase 2 consists of:

  • 8 weeks of working with a business coach to complete a comprehensive business plan that is submitted by the end of the 12th week

Phase 3 consists of:

  • launching a business  
  • operating the venture (while continuing to collect Employment Insurance Benefits or Living Allowance, for a maximum of 39 weeks)
  • receiving business coaching for the remaining 38 weeks

Participation Requirements & Expectations

As a participant, you must work toward the creation of a sustainable business venture with an objective to replace your Employment Insurance Benefits.

Once accepted into Phase 1 of the program, you must attend the initial three-week training period.

To gain access to Phase 2, you must:

  • have successfully completed Phase I.
  • work with your assigned coach over the following nine weeks to complete a comprehensive business plan by the end of week 12.

To be accepted into Phase 3, you must:

  • submit a complete business plan by the end of week 12
  • have been approved into Phase 3 by the Director
  • have monthly contact with your coach
  • submit a monthly progress report and a monthly income statement. These documents will remain the property of the program and of the Manitoba Jobs and Skills Development and through them to Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, re the Freedom of Information Act.


To be eligible, you must:

  • have attended an Information/Orientation Session
  • be unemployed or underemployed
  • be currently in receipt of Employment Insurance Benefits or were in receipt of Employment Insurance Benefits within the past 3 years or received maternity/parental benefits with the past 5 years
  • demonstrate that participation in the Self-Employment Program is the most appropriate option
  • have a viable and feasible business concept
  • be legally entitled to work in Canada
  • be able to contribute equity toward the business (either in cash or in kind) in the amount of 25 percent of the total project, up to a maximum of $4,000
  • NOT have been funded for skills training within the past two years
  • NOT have been funded for the Self-Employment Program within the past five years
  • NOT have started your business or be deemed to be self-employed (according to Canada Revenue Agency regulations) prior to being accepted into the Self Employment Program

For more information, please call Employment Services or email us!

PLEASE NOTE: To remain eligible for Employment Insurance Benefits while your application for the Self Employment Program is being considered, you must be able to prove that you are still unemployed and available for work and that you are continuing to make an effort to find work.