Michaëlle Jean Foundation Announces its new Young Arts Entrepreneurs

OTTAWA, April 30, 2014—The Michaëlle Jean Foundation is delighted to announce the first recipients of its new Young Arts Entrepreneur program funding, as Canada prepares to celebrate National Youth Arts Week.

With the generous support of CIBC and BMO, and the collaboration of the Canadian Youth Business Foundation, the program provides start-up capital as well as business and arts mentors to underserved youth seeking to launch an arts-based business over a two-year period.

More than 60 aspiring young business and community leaders from across Canada applied. A jury selected the following recipients:

  • Aimee Baldwin from Kenora is a potter with a dream of expanding her existing studio and services to incorporate wheel throwing and a new central business location.
  • Maya Bedward aims to marry social change and entertainment by giving new perspective to issues of culture and identity through her Toronto-based company Third Culture Films.
  • Alexandrine Duclos is a young photographer in Québec City, whose goal is to establish a studio where she can develop her own art and also encourage at-risk youth to explore photography.
  • Cameron Dutchak, from Sault Ste. Marie, is a mural artist building an enterprise that would allow at-risk youth to develop skills as they participate in commissioned street art projects.
  • Devon Fiddler is a Saskatoon designer whose company, She Native, will produce unique, locally made, Indigenous-sourced fashion accessories.
  • Bishara Mohamed, a Toronto visual artist, dreams of taking her designs to a wider public through fabric and hand-made paper products.
  • Ahmed Ali Mohamud, “Ahmed Knowmadic” to his fans, is a founding member of Edmonton’s “Breath in Poetry” collective, which is working to expand its weekly poetry night events and school programmes.
  • Babby Palomo is a partner in Comunica Media, an enterprise that aims to bring high quality media to Montreal’s diverse Spanish-speaking communities.

“We are delighted by the caliber and diversity of our young arts entrepreneurs whose innovative spirit and determination have the potential to inspire underserved youth all over the country. Their business projects span such a rich variety of artistic disciplines, providing our recipients with a unique opportunity to make a mark in Canada’s creative industries, which bring billions of dollars to our country every year”, said the Rt. Hon. Michaëlle Jean and Monsieur Jean-Daniel Lafond, Co-Founders and Co-Chairs of the Michaëlle Jean Foundation.

In addition to start-up capital of $7,500 each, recipients will be mentored in business plan development, marketing and other business skills, and receive ongoing mentoring in arts techniques from seasoned professionals. The Canadian Youth Business Foundation, which helped to design the program, will also be assisting the youth with additional tools and resources. The aim of Young Arts Entrepreneur is to provide participants with the tools, experience and connections in the financial world they need to “graduate” to other ongoing opportunities to build their businesses.

Additional information about the recipients and their business projects can be found here.

About the Michaëlle Jean Foundation

We support youth arts initiatives that transform young lives and revitalize underserved communities across Canada. Through our programs, underprivileged youth are using their creativity to build new solutions to pressing social issues, like poverty, social exclusion and mental health. In so doing, they are catalyzing innovative community renewal projects, driving Aboriginal cultural resurgence, and kick-starting cutting-edge business ventures, all over the country. For more info: www.fmjf.ca.

About the Canadian Youth Business Foundation

The Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) is a national non-profit organization dedicated to growing Canada’s economy one young entrepreneur at a time. We look at character, not collateral, when providing youth aged 18-39 with pre-launch coaching, business resources, low-interest financing of up to $15,000, and industry-leading mentoring to help them launch and sustain successful businesses. CYBF’s co-financing partner, the Business Development Bank of Canada, leverages CYBF’s application process to provide up to $30,000 in additional support for CYBF entrepreneurs.

Established in 1996, CYBF has been recognized as a global leader in advancing youth entrepreneurship. CYBF is a founding member of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance, the Canadian member of The Prince’s Youth Business International, and the Canadian host of Global Entrepreneurship Week (being held November 18-24 in 2013).

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For more information:

Peter Flegel

Director of Communications and Programs

Michaëlle Jean Foundation

613.562.5468

pflegel@fmjf.ca

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