Systems change is achieved by growing impact through institutional, cultural, and community lenses. In 2021, this approach informed how we scaled operations and developed capacity to focus on impact and sustainability.
For a second year, our Fellowship Program took place in a fully remote environment; countless virtual events and a 3-week Training Camp enhanced our digital delivery expertise. We scaled our work-integrated learning efforts through the Internship and our newly launched Intrapreneurship program. Growth can take many forms. Geography. Volume. Skills. Applications for the Fellowship Program decreased. Engagement among participants grew.
Student-facing programs grew on all counts–applications, engagement, and community.
Online learning hours skyrocketed across programs this year, with participants completing 2929 more courses than in 2020. We launched weekly “Job Seeking Hours,” a core program offering, and biweekly live skills workshops to provide structure and predictability for participants. In the Fellowship Program, we activated peer-group “Homerooms” for support, engaged Alumni in mentorship relationships, and for the first time, opened live learning spaces to participants across all three programs to create a rich community of students, young professionals, and seasoned entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurial skills are essential in the Canadian economy–period. The Entrepreneurship Competence Framework (EntreComp) published by the European Union in 2016, continues to be our north star. It defines entrepreneurship as “the capacity to act upon opportunities and ideas to create value for others.”
We recruit, train and support recent grads to access jobs at startups while building the leadership skills and confidence they need to thrive in their career. For folks eager to work in the startup ecosystem, the Fellowship program eases the school-to-work transition while diversifying and strengthening Canada’s startup talent pipeline.
Our latest short-term I-WIL program connects students to real-world business problems developed by employer project partners across Canada. Students who complete the 7-week project gain paid work experiences while small and medium businesses benefit from added capacity on a project basis.
Tried and tested, our Internship program gives students hands-on experience at small and medium-sized businesses. For up to 16 weeks, while completing VFC’s signature entrepreneurial skills training, interns’ wages are supported with up to 75% coverage, ensuring they receive above minimum wage without straining startups.
We’re excited to catalyze the potential of our perpetually exploding community, currently 2574 young people and 1230+ small businesses and startups.