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Ontario invests in youth entrepreneurship through Rise Asset Development

Ontario invests in youth entrepreneurship through Rise Asset Development

Toronto, June 15, 2012Toronto, June 15, 2012 – Starting a business is never an easy task for young people who are often overwhelmed by developing an idea into a concrete business plan. The challenge is even greater for youth with a history of mental health or addiction issues, who have often had to work around interruptions in their education and/or employment experiences.

A new partnership between the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services and Rise Asset Development, a microfinance initiative of UofT’s Rotman School of Management and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), aims to help this vulnerable group become active members of their community and the economy.

Ontario is investing in Rise to create a program to support marginalized youth entrepreneurs with mentorship, training and other assistance to increase the success rate of their businesses. The program will work with fifty young entrepreneurs between the ages of 16 and 29 over the next three years.

”Supporting young people with mental health or addiction challenges is important for their success and for the success of our communities,”, says Dr. Eric Hoskins, the Minister of Children and Youth Services during today’s launch event. “This innovative partnership is an excellent example of how government can work with the private sector and community agencies to support vulnerable youth.”

“For most people, meaningful employment is a key element in their economic, social and personal lives. However, individuals living with mental illness and addictions face many barriers in finding and maintaining employment. Through Rise we have continued to invest in this group of people and are repeatedly amazed by their potential,” says Sandra Rotman, the philanthropist who founded Rise Asset Development with a $1 million donation in 2009.

The Ministry of Children and Youth Services, http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/index.aspx , helps families to find the services needed to give kids the best start in life, make it easier for families to access the services they need at all stages of a child’s development and to help youth become productive adults.

Rise Asset Development works to empower business owners with access to financing and business support. The organization recognizes the interdependency of financial well-being to one's overall quality of life. Rise is committed to improving the lives of people who are unable to secure employment due to mental health or addictions challenges. Rise, with the support of the Rotman School of Management and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), provides microfinancing and mentorship to men and women living with mental illness and addictions who are interested in pursuing self-employment.

Rise offers business loans, leases and other investments, based on stage of development, needs and capacity, including business financing up to $25,000 throughout Ontario, with average initial financing from $3000 to $5,000. Credit is currently at a 3.5 per cent interest rate with all investments secured by the assets of the business (not personal assets).

Additional information may be found at http://www.riseassetdevelopment.ca | Twitter: @riseCAN | Facebook: Rise Asset Development

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