"At the 6 month juncture of this program, I can't express my appreciation for the business training we received. The BERN staff from all the locations were not only well informed and professional but they truly had our best interests at heart. No matter how many different hats you have worn before your start of your own business - you can always learning something new." Jayne Gray, Mile Stones, Collingwood
"I graduated the program in September of 2007 and in the months that I attended workshops, networking events and other activities, I made some good friends, colleagues and potential clients. The program taught me a lot about running a small business, attracting clients and networking with other business people. In the 2 years since I graduated, as an alumni, I have been involved with Business Plan reviews and ongoing training of the new intake clients. This is important to me because I believe in continuous learning. This program gives every entrepreneur a good start with knowledge and resources and motivates them by keeping them in contact with other successful graduates." Pamela Toutant, Toutant Business Services, Orillia
Am I Eligible and How Do I Qualify?
To qualify you must be
unemployed OR working less than 20 hours a week AND:
- You have an EI (Employment Insurance) benefit period established
with Service Canada, or,
- You have an EI benefit period ended within the last 36 months,
- You are re-entering the labour force after having left it to
care for a newborn or newly adopted child. The benefit period
must have begun within the last 60 months during which you were
paid maternity or parental benefits, and you have no re-call rights
to your previous employer.
Your proposed business
- A full-time business venture
- A new business, or
- An existing business in which you had no prior ownership, and
- Suitable for public funding (e.g. must not exploit sex, religion, politics, discrimination or illegal activity).
The business concept
- Seasonal in nature; however, you must demonstrate how you will
devote a full-time effort to the business for the duration of
Ontario Self Employment Benefit (OSEB) period.
- A home-based venture.
- A conversion of a hobby to a business.
The business cannot
- Partially or entirely based on commission or solely contracted by another business.
- A part-time business.
- Previously owned or similar to a business previously owned
by you, the applicant.
- A previously established family business.
- A franchise.
- A home-based day care.
- A not-for-profit corporation.
must also demonstrate that you can finance the start up and operation
of the business.
you are considering a partnership or incorporation, you will be
required to demonstrate through the partnership agreement or letters
of incorporation that you are the decision-maker in control of the
To find out about
your Employment Insurance eligibility:
English Enquiries 1-800-206-7218
French Enquires 1-800-808-6352