Youth Enterprise Network (YEN).

Organization Sponsor: Doorsteps Neighbourhood Services


Program Description

YEN is a committee of the local Black Creek Coordinating Committee (a network made up of agencies in the area) made up of entrepreneurs and local organizations that have come together in 2009 to provide support and increase opportunities for young entrepreneurs living in the Black Creek community (Jane/Finch, Jane/Sheppard, Jane/Chalkfarm, Jane/Falstaff). YEN believes that local youth and those falling in the 18 to 34 age bracket have the innovative ideas and entrepreneurial drive to succeed.

The dynamic members of YEN include NYKE, Blueprints, Doorsteps, Black Creek Community Collaborative, Involve Youth, Soulfull N Soulless, Mr. Fresh (INI’s Entrepreneur of the year), Greenwin Inc, Broker Carmen Shoukralla, as well as other partners. Through the concerted efforts of our network we are providing youth living in our neighbourhoods with the skills to open and sustain their own businesses.

The Initiative

The YEN initiative is designed to provide a comprehensive set of supports to equip youth entrepreneurs with the tools, networks and qualifications needed to succeed. The initiative has been developed by a collaboration of partners who bring a broad base of perspectives to the table, ensuring a well planned curriculum. Through YEN, participants will participate in a workshop series; however, the participants will also be referred to YEN partners, Blueprints YU and SECE, for more intensive training. The major components of the initiative include:

PHASE 1 – Training
Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Financial Literacy, Life Skills, Getting Your Business Started: Market Research, Social Entrepreneurship, Life Skill, Business Planning, Networking, Financing, Public Relations and Marketing, Distribution, Financial Management and Business Planning

PHASE 2 – Implementation
During the 7th to the 12th month of the project, graduates will be allowed a space in the store to showcase their products. The amount of time allowed in the space will be determined with the vendors. The group will be supported to apply to the Black Creek Community Capacity group’s micro-credit loan initiative to finance their business. The second six months of the initiative will focus on producing and distributing the product, and marketing the business.

 Ascend — YEN’s Store: Free Space

Ascend features clothing, jewelry, artwork, magazines, music and other retail products by local youth and young adult entrepreneurs.

Program Approximate Cost: 

Most programs free, minimal fees for others (may be waived)

Funding Sources: 

Doorsteps and Ontario Trillium Foundation

Strategies For Sustainability: 

Non Profit; Registered Charity; United Way Categorized under Community Development Groups. 

Impact Of Program: 

Mission • Creating community defined programs and services with the Black Creek community

 Vision • A strong community where all people enjoy the highest quality of life.

Key Elements Towards Success: 

Doorsteps Neighbourhood Services is accountable to the people in the Chalkfarm, Daystrom and Falstaffneighbourhoods for clear, responsive and timely programs and services. Doorsteps is also accountable to its funders.

Determinants of Health 
Doorsteps seeks to improve the health of our communities by addressing income, education, shelter, early child development, access to safe and nutritious foods, access to quality health care, safety, peace, equity and social justice.

Doorsteps works to engage and empower individuals and groups who have been left out of the planning, decision-making and policy-development processes in their community; promoting increased awareness, respect and an active celebration of people's diversity.

Citizen Engagement and Mutual Support 
Doorsteps assists and encourages community members to help each other and work together to address shared concerns. Applying these principles means working directly with community members, developing initiatives from the ground up, mobilizing trained volunteers and skilled staff, and securing government funds and private donations to achieve locally defined objectives.

Doorsteps recognizes the necessity, strength and value of working in collaborative partnerships with community members, agencies and organizations to further mutual goals and agendas.

Human Rights 
Doorsteps endeavours to carry out our activities at all times in accordance with Human Rights principles and legislation.

Challenges To Meet Them: 

Doorsteps Neighborhood Services are about Community Development, Community Education, Prevention, Enhancing Resiliency.

Length and Stage of Project: 



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