Young entrepreneurship centre closes up shop

Stephen Brun
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SUMMERSIDE - Many businesses have been moving into the Holman Building recently, but Cheryl Garnhum and Jessica LeBlanc are moving out on Wednesday.
The only two staff members of the Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development (CEED P.E.I.) were packing up boxes on Wednesday.
The federal government has decided to discontinue the ACOA program that has been funding CEED since its inception, Granhum explained.

Jessica LeBlanc, left, and Cheryl Garnhum pack the last few items from their office in the Holman Building on Wednesday. The pair are the only two staff members of the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Employment Development, which recently lost its federal

SUMMERSIDE - Many businesses have been moving into the Holman Building recently, but Cheryl Garnhum and Jessica LeBlanc are moving out on Wednesday.
The only two staff members of the Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development (CEED P.E.I.) were packing up boxes on Wednesday.
The federal government has decided to discontinue the ACOA program that has been funding CEED since its inception, Granhum explained.
"There were indications that the programming was going to change," she said. "It's certainly not a negative relationship that we've had (with ACOA); it's just unfortunate that filter of funding had run its course. We began as a pilot project and we were very fortunate to have the duration we did."
Bill Martin, owner of the Water Street Bakery, began CEED in 2003 based on his passion for entrepreneurship.
The service helped people under age 34 achieve their goal of owning their own business through assisting in marketing and promotions.
It also helped the business owner access loan programs through the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF). That program will continue on despite the loss of CEED.
The ACOA funding was minimal, but necessary for the service to get by. The money went toward salaries for Garnhum and LeBlanc, as well as the career aptitude tests for students.
But the decision to discontinue the funding certainly wasn't because people weren't using the service, Garnhum said.
"We had walk-in clientele between 150-250 people on a yearly basis. Monthly we'd have between three and five loans that were reviewed and taken through the process with the CYBF. It's a very active organization," she said. "We had a very high success rate because of the mentoring that was established for them and because of our open-door service. They could always come back to us if they required any help."
Despite the bad news, the staff members were upbeat on Wednesday as they emptied out their office.
The pair have looked into alternative funding, but said it's difficult to find funds for non-profit services like CEED.
Garnhum said she hoped a similar service would be available in the future, even if she's not part of it.
"There's so much potential and so many great minds out there. They just need the guidance, otherwise it's just the flicker and not an ignition of an idea," Garnhum said. "Success for us was carrying someone through and having them say, 'Thank you, I couldn't have made it without you.' They weren't stats for us."

sbrun@journalpioneer.com

Organizations: Canadian Youth Business Foundation, Water Street Bakery

Geographic location: SUMMERSIDE

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