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Vancouver Community College (VCC) is making it possible for women who've just arrived in Canada to use their skills and start a small business.
Make It!, a social entrepreneurship project aimed at refugee and immigrant women, began this November with 10 women working together to improve their sewing skills, make products that are marketable and gain basic Canadian business knowledge. VCC is partnering with DiverseCity community resources society in Surrey, B.C., which has been supporting refugees and immigrants for 40 years.
The 10-week project will use a fully equipped lab with industrial sewing machines at VCC’s downtown campus as a maker-space. The ‘collective’ will operate a group business for income generation and work experience. Following this first project, a second will be launched for those interested in food preparation, using VCC’s commercial kitchen. Products for both projects will be sold through VCC’s and other retail outlets.
The project, funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, aims to provide the English language and essential skills training to make it as an entrepreneur in a social enterprise model.
“In 2018-19, IRCC will provide $32 million in funding for as many as 100 service delivery improvement projects across Canada,” said the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. “Understanding newcomer needs and developing innovative approaches, as the Vancouver Community College has done, is what IRCC’s new Service Delivery Improvement funding stream is all about.”
The learnings from these two projects will be shared to support similar projects at other colleges.
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Media can contact:
Director, Partnership Development Office
Vancouver Community College
604-871-7000, ext. 8350