Economic Development Greater Saint John is launching a new program that offers curriculum and pay to young people interested in developing businesses in the Port City.

The development agency has teamed up with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency to launch the Navigator Paid Start-Up Program, which will begin in the fall. It will pay entrepreneurs aged 18 to 30 (or in rare cases, up to 35) for up to six months while they develop their business idea.

“We want to give young people who are interested in starting their own business the space and time and energy that they need to get it started,” said Michele Lodge, the ESJ Project Coordinator for Emerging Entrepreneurs.

Anyone interested in the program can apply here by June 30.

The Navigator program, which will begin in September, will be held at the ConnexionWorks co-working space in Uptown Saint John.

Ten participants accepted into the program will receive a space in a co-working environment, which includes wi-fi and meeting space.  They will each be paid $11.25 per hour for 30 hours per week throughout the program.

Each week, there will be a three-hour training session taught by subject matter experts in such topics as  pitching, business validation, market research, small business finances and marketing. 

Participants must agree to devote at least 30 hours a week to their businesses and attend all the training sessions. Participants cannot be full-time students during the program.

Lodge said the program is a pilot project with the goal of attracting or retaining young people with an entrepreneurial mindset.

“We’re just really hoping that a lot of people will return to Saint John who haven’t have the chance to explore a business opportunity here, and we’re hoping to attract young people from other places as well,” said Lodge.