Did you know that Toronto receives more than 75,000 immigrants per year? Though many arrive with high levels of education and work experience, the unfortunate truth is that most will face labour market barriers like precarious work and lower wages to a greater degree than their Canadian counterparts. It’s no wonder that many will turn to self-employment and entrepreneurship in response to these challenges.
Artscape Launchpad’s just-launched program, Creative Entrepreneurship for New Canadians, was created for those enterprising new Canadians who wish to establish a creative business in their new home country. But this program is different from other orientation programs. It goes deep, helping newcomers through the long process of becoming oriented and confident while working within an unfamiliar system and among unfamiliar communities.
We understand that it takes longer for newcomers to become established and cultivate business relationships. They need time and support to develop the awareness of culture and economy required in creative entrepreneurship. In some cases, they must also unlearn habits and assumptions developed in their home country. Many New Canadians also produce work in culturally specific practices that have been underrepresented (and under-funded) in Canada.
Our facilitators work with participants to demystify our creative economy, navigate new systems, help them position their work and find financial support to build and bolster their business.
We’ve already run a few prototypes of the program with different groups and engaged program partners, such as Airsa Art & Thought Association, to develop the program through active, open and ongoing dialogue. Feedback has been great, with various collaborations emerging across cultural and disciplinary practices. One participant, an animator from Mexico who does work with the Toronto Star, even provided a glowing recommendation in the form of a cartoon! .
Both government and corporate partners understand the incredible work that these creators are doing and want to help Launchpad to support them in turning their creative practice into a sustainable creative business. Thanks to the support of the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration and of Shopify, which recently confirmed its support, we’re able to lower barriers to attendance for future participants through scholarships
Learn more about the program and register for an upcoming session on our Launchpad programs page.