New businesses and jobs for dreamers, entrepreneurs, new and newish Canadians
The Your Neighbourhood Hub (YNH) program creates a network of community-led, multi-industry incubators in the different Scarborough neighbourhoods. The focus is on launching new SMEs for new and newish Canadians. It takes advantage of the strengths of Scarborough’s multicultural, multiethnic community; residents’ efforts to revitalize the area; and takes the needs of the community as its starting point.
YNHs provides services through street-level storefronts located in high traffic retail and service areas in Scarborough. These storefronts are a mutually supportive environment between YNH entrepreneurs and their community. The YNH are not set up to be primarily co-working spaces. The focus instead is on training, mentorship and coaching, business seminars, consulting, networking, and community connections. The goal is to create a community for each YNH for both the benefit of the entrepreneurs and as a beacon to others who might be inspired to take their futures into their own hands.
The Case for the YNHs
Scarborough is home to myriad retail, foodservice, and service companies and more launch every day. And while we see the YNHs open to all, we see Scarborough’s ethnic and cultural diversity as a strength for the community. This is the program’s starting point. YNH will become a key part in the community’s growth as it helps residents realize their dreams as business people and their place in Canadian society.
The YNH program delivers its services through Your Neighbourhood Hubs. It has a bottom-up orientation seeking to respond to local needs with a focus on small and medium enterprises. Instead of people coming to an isolated institution, services come smack into the community. We are planning the facilities to be at street level, have large windows and community uses spaces. The Hubs becomes part of the fabric of the community. They’re more than just a convenient place for new businesses to collect. They’re neighbourhood assets.
YNH’s program design is based on the following principles:
- A bottom-up incubator — A community-based, grass-roots, bottom-up client-driven incubator that is responsive to the needs of the community
- A model — A process that can be replicated in other places and cities across Canada.
- A community hub — An incubator facility that face the street rather than an enclosed place that turns its back on the street like a shopping mall. People in the incubator see the world outside and want to be part of it. People outside the incubator can see inside it and want to part of it.
- SME multi-industries — Open to all types of SMEs ranging from family grocery stores to the latest technology. The common element is the dreams of the entrepreneur.
- Going into the community — YNH delivers its programs into the community — we go to new entrepreneurs rather than they coming to us.
- The Collaborators
YNH was developed initially with Centennial College and advised by private developers and the City of Toronto.
The core design phase is complete. The next step is to identify an initial property (approx. 5,000 ft2) for the first YNH. That property will act as the headquarters for the program and the test bed for the programming. Two additional properties are needed to build out the program with the decisions to be made about local service gaps, relationships, and locations.