Employment & Training Programs and Services

Published Date: August 01, 2011
Bookmark this page

Training for Work

Self-Employment

AUTHORITY

Income and Employment Supports Act, Part 3 Section 20
Income Support, Training and Health Benefits Regulation – Section 1(1)(e)
 Training Provider Regulation Section 2

INTENT

Self-Employment training is a program element under the Training for Work program. It facilitates entry into self-employment by offering individuals formal instruction, business plan development, one-to-one business counseling, coaching, guidance and follow-up during business plan implementation. It is designed for unemployed and marginally employed Albertans who have a viable business idea, personal attributes necessary to be successful at self-employment, and who are in need of self-employment training.

Objectives

The objectives of Self-Employment training are:

  • to assist unemployed and marginally employed Albertans to create employment opportunities for themselves, and
  • to create additional employment opportunities in the community that might not otherwise be available.

Desired Outcome

The expected outcome of Self-Employment training is full-time employment in the target business. Specifically, at least 70% of individuals who are accepted into and start Self-Employment training are expected to be working full-time (a minimum of 30 hours per week) in the operation of their business 180 days (six-months) following the completion date of the program.

However, a program may be considered successful if within this 70% of graduates, 10% gain full-time employment (other than self-employment) using the skills learned.  This should only be applied when the full-time employment was directly attributed to the Self-Employment training (i.e., the individual gained new skills in demand and/or transferable skills as a result of training).

POLICY

Eligible Individuals Specific to Self-Employment Program

Along with the criteria for the Self-Employment training outlined below, more information on general eligibility requirements is available at: Eligible Individuals – General.

Self-Employment training is designed to assist individuals who:

  • have a viable business concept for starting a new business or taking over an existing business where they did not have prior ownership,
  • have the capital or access to capital needed to start and operate their business,
  • have the personal attributes to be successful entrepreneurs (i.e. self-motivated, risk taker and perseverance, good organizational skills), and
  • have the skills and knowledge of the products or services pertaining to their new business.

Priority must be given to individuals who:

  • own a minimum of 51% of the proposed business, and
  • are not receiving business training from a franchise company.

Preference should be given to individuals who:

  • have a business idea that may help the individual become self-sufficient in his/her own business and generate additional jobs in the local economy, and
  • are seeking participation in Self-Employment training for the first time (e.g. have not previously participated in another self-employment program).

Worker Cooperatives may be eligible for participation in the Self-Employment program. A Worker Cooperative is defined as an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs, and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise. Worker Cooperatives are employee-owned businesses which operate in accordance with the cooperative principles and in which the cooperative’s membership consists of employees of the business. Worker Cooperatives are controlled on the basis of one-member/one-vote.

Employment Insurance (EI) Reporting Instructions

Instructions outlining the required procedure for EI eligible learners/training participants to complete their EI reporting process can be accessed through the Tools section of the Manual. 

Financial Considerations

Self-Employment Training awards are only intended to cover the training costs and supplemental benefits (i.e. living costs). Financial assistance through Self-Employment training is not intended to cover business start-up costs or for investment in the individual’s business.

Duration/Enrollment

Self-Employment training must be provided on a full-time basis up to a maximum of 26 weeks in length. During the formal instruction and business plan development activities, it is expected that individuals will attend a minimum of 25 hours per week.

Training components should be comprised of the following time frames:

  • formal instruction and business plan development should be approximately 8-10 weeks, and
  • implementation of business plans should be approximately 14-16 weeks.

Once individuals have completed the formal instruction and their business plans, they are expected to work full-time (a minimum of 30 hours per week) on starting and operating their business.

Under exceptional circumstances that are beyond the individual’s control and where income support continues to be critical or the business start-up will be at risk, extensions beyond 26 weeks may be negotiated to a maximum of 52 weeks. (Exceptional circumstances may include situations such as a serious or prolonged illness or death in the family).

Program Requirements

Self-Employment training is designed to address all aspects of business operation including:

  • Formal instruction in starting and operating a business, including business plan development,
  • One-to-one business counselling, coaching and guidance through expert advise and consulting to support the identified skill development needs of the individual and implementation of a business plan, 
  • Ongoing support/Service Management for an additional 180 days (six months) after the individual completes the Self-Employment training. The training provider is expected to provide advice, guidance and support to the individual which may entail on-site monitoring to ensure successful implementation of the business plan.

Developing a business plan is an essential step in setting up a small business. Its key function is to provide a map of the necessary steps to operate ones own business. The business plan components are found in the Appendix:

The individual’s proposed business must:

  • be suitable for public funding and not in conflict with or potential conflict with Human Services mission, values and beliefs,
  • meet all applicable legislation and regulations (e.g. environmental requirements, historical requirements, noise by-laws, zoning requirements, etc.), and
  • be registered and located in Alberta.

The individual’s proposed business must not:

  • be in contravention of any law or at risk of such contravention, and
  • be based solely on commission.

The individual’s proposed business should also be adequately supported by its parent company if it is a subsidiary.

Methods of Delivery

The Training Provider may deliver formal instruction and provide counselling, coaching and guidance through classroom, or synchronous e-learning methods of delivery.

Procurement Method

Self-Employment programs are provided through contract-based training.

PROCEDURE

Formal instruction and Business Plan Development means the training provider will assist individuals in creating jobs for themselves by providing advice concerning capital, training, coaching, and technical assistance while they launch their business. Training providers will design training modules based on the individual’s needs that are provided through one-to-one assistance, group workshops, or synchronous e-learning. The expectation is that individuals will devote a minimum of 25 hours per week towards their training activities.

Program Access/Entrance

An individual self-refers or is referred to a training provider by Human Services for intake into Self-Employment training. The steps in the application process are:

  • each individual applies to the program and provides all needed information to the training provider,
  • each individual is accepted into the program based on the viability of the his/her business idea and suitability as determined by an Employability Assessment and the Service Plan,
  • all training providers have the right of admission for individuals into their programs, and
  • information on the individual’s assessment and Service Plan must be entered on Human Services’s Mobius system.
  • During the screening process, the training provider will assess the viability of the individual’s business idea. This evaluation should include, but not be limited to:

    • the individual’s strategic analysis of the industry and how the business will fit into current and future labour market trends,
    • the strengths and the weaknesses of the business and potential plans of action for correcting or negotiating such weaknesses,
    • estimates of required capital for start-up, operation and growth of the business,
    • reasonable timelines to accomplish pre-set goals and to measure progress, and
    • the advantage that sets the business apart from the competition (e.g. serving a unique market or promoting their product or service through web-based marketing).

Program Exit

Self-Employment training concludes upon completion of all requirements of the training program. If the individual has difficulty completing the program, the training provider will assess the situation, consult with Human Services staff if required, and mediate changes with the individual that will contribute to successful completion of the training.

An individual's funding may be terminated at any time if the:

  • individual provides false information,
  • business plan or business is no longer considered viable by the training provider,
  • business is viable ahead of schedule and assistance is no longer deemed necessary, or
  • individual demonstrates inappropriate conduct, including:

    • non-attendance during business plan development training, or
    • inappropriate behaviour (e.g. intoxication, etc.).

Individuals who are unsuccessful should be referred to Human Services for additional services and/or assessment.

APPENDIX

Glossary of Terms for the Self-Employment Training Policy

Business Plan – Developing a business plan is an essential step in setting up a small business. Its key function is to provide a map of the necessary steps to operate one’s own business. The business plan includes the following basic components:

Business idea – a description of the business idea and a personal resume.
Marketing research – customer/community/competition analysis, market estimate and local analysis.
Marketing plan – product or service design, location of the business and distribution of the product or service, strategies for pricing and promotion.
Organizational documents – any legal forms required for the business entity including insurance, bonding and business license requirements.
Financial planning – income statement, balance sheet, start-up costs, cash-flow analysis, personal financial statement, and source of financing.
Operational Details – physical set-up of business, internal organizational structure, staff required to operate the business, purchasing, quality control, inventory, customer service policies and procedures, and record keeping methodology or practices.

Formal Instruction and Business Plan Development – the training provider will assist individuals in creating jobs for themselves by providing advice concerning capital, training, coaching, and technical assistance while they launch their business. Training providers will design training modules based on the individual’s needs that are provided through one-to-one assistance, in-group workshops, or synchronous e-learning. The expectation is that individuals will devote a minimum of 25 hours per week to the formal instruction and business plan development activities.

Full-Time employment – working an average of at least 30 hours per week, earning at least minimum wage with non-subsidized earnings.

Self-Employment – to organize, manage and assume the risk to start a business or enterprise that ultimately creates a job for the individual and others. A self-employed person is also called an Entrepreneur.

Viable Business Idea – the individual’s business concept supports the needs of the local economy and there is a reasonable chance for the individual to become self-sufficient as a result of his/her business.