Mill tradespeople and technicians will be able to access specialized entrepreneurship training to start and grow their own businesses, thanks to a $2.95 million funding announced in Prince George on Friday.

B.C. Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Sheila Malcolmson announced funding for Hubspace’s Build Your Own Future program, which offers foundational business skills in finance, marketing and sales, operations, project management, health and safety, customer service, leadership, and diversity. Those who complete the training are eligible for a $5,000 grant to cover qualified business startup expenses.

“The forestry industry and communities are facing challenges, so we are supporting those affected by helping them land stable, good jobs and move away from the old boom-and-bust cycles,” Malcolmson said. “People who want to build their own businesses can get training and in-person supports through our funding, so they won’t have to face that process alone.”

Hubspace is a non-profit organization based in Prince George that supports the region’s technology community grow.

“Thanks to the Province of B.C., the grant will allow us to support the entire province in areas affected by mill closures and curtailments,” Hubspace executive director Mary Mytting said. “Our Build Your Own Future program offers an innovative approach to supporting mill tradespeople’s and technicians’ transition into business ownership, keeping them in their communities and their families together.”

Funding for the program comes from the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement.

Chuck Leblanc, president of the Public and Private Workers of Canada Len Shankel Local 9 based in Prince George said the program, “will enable many of our members to remain here in Prince George with their families.”

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