The Diverse Women’s Club was a certificate training program offered at NYCH, serving women who have immigrated to Canada. The program was a pilot project and was generously funded by United Way Toronto & York Region (now, United Way Greater Toronto). The program provided skill-based training for women to gain knowledge and practical, hands-on experience to operate a business and become self-employed. The women launching their businesses also needed access to employment to support themselves, their families, and the startup stage of their endeavours. As such, an employment stream was incorporated into the program that focused on assisting women with re-entering the labour market and gaining job readiness skills.

Self-Employment & Entrepreneurship Training Stream

The Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship Training Program offered training in the following areas:

  • Business modelling and exploration
  • Financials and social asset development
  • Marketing, sales, and promotion
  • Marketing and bookkeeping
  • Business plan development
  • Pitch and sales presentation
  • Hands-on experience in launching the business alongside business experts

Pre-Employment Training Stream

The Pre-Employment Training Program offered training and support in the following areas:

  • Skills inventory exploration
  • Career transitioning and career exploration
  • Soft skills and transferrable skill inventory
  • Resume and cover letter development
  • Successful interviewing strategies and mock-interviews
  • Networking and informational interviews
  • Job search strategies, job prospecting, and the hidden market

Additional Training Provided

  • Hospitality training
  • Personal branding training
  • Personality dimensions
  • Customer service training
  • Luxury training

During this program we established a partnership with COSTI Immigrant Services to support our program participants in the following areas:

  • Job matching and job placement
  • Access to various paid training opportunities (i.e. Food Handling Certification and Smart Serve Certification)
  • Mentorship opportunities
  • Second Career
  • Career coaching

Outcomes for Participants

  • Women started a home-based business
  • Women found their first jobs in Canada
  • Women gained confidence and self-promotion skills to secure employment opportunities
  • Women attended various networking
  • Professional development, and training sessions in the community
  • Women hosted a marketing event for their business
  • Women met sales and related milestones
  • Women changed career direction in Canada
  • Women engaged in individual and group mentorship opportunities
  • Women were matched with professional mentors in their respective industry

How the Program is Unique

We adopted a holistic service model in our program with the help of Settlement Workers at North York Community House and external partner organizations. This meant addressing and supporting individuals in all aspects of their life including housing, child-care, financial stability, family life, legal matters, physical and mental health in conjunction to self-employment and employment support. Our participants reaffirmed that this approach is optimal in supporting them to reach their fullest potential.

The following are key areas in which we supported participants to ensure they successfully launched their business and secured employment:

  • Social asset management
  • Building social and community supports
  • around participants and their family
  • Financial Literacy
  • Personal and family counselling
  • Community referrals
  • Government support
  • Peer support