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Rise YSBP Grad Photo Fall 2017A Journey in Community Innovation:
Supporting Entrepreneurs with Mental Health or Addiction Challenges

How can we ensure that Canadians who experience mental health or addictions challenges have access to the tools, supports, and pathways towards meaningful work that meets their unique needs?

Rise Asset Development (Rise) is a Canadian charity working towards answering that question. Rise provides small business loans, training, and mentorship to entrepreneurs with a history of mental health or addiction challenges, helping them overcome barriers to traditional employment by starting their own businesses. After 10 years of providing in-person supports to entrepreneurs in Ontario, Rise has a bold plan to scale its impact across Canada in the next five years.

A key step in that process was exploring how Rise’s training and mentorship programs might be made accessible to all Canadians in an online format, while still delivering on the experience and support that made Rise’s in-person programs uniquely impactful. With that ambitious goal in mind, Rise developed and launched EnterpRISEing Youth - a free online entrepreneurship course for youth. Through this process Rise worked with Galen MacLusky and Megan Wanless, Tamarack’s Director of Community Innovation and Senior Community Animator, to convene a Youth Advisory Council in the development of EnterpRISEing Youth and to apply an innovative Design Thinking process to refine a toolkit for local agencies to provide in-person sessions to support local students who are participating in the EnterpRISEing Youth program.

This hybrid model, called EnterpRISEing Youth + is currently being offered through local partners in London and Sudbury, but this is only the start of Rise’s national expansion. If you’re interested in exploring if this model might be right for your community or clients, reach out to Rise at hello@enterpriseingyouth.ca.

Read more stories in our 2018 Progress and Impact Report