Industry Canada

Industry Canada

April 07, 2009 11:30 ET

Canada's Economic Action Plan to Help Small Businesses and Students

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - April 7, 2009) - The Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism), today announced the launch of a new program to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) grow in the knowledge economy and to help students get jobs in the field of information and communications technologies (ICT).

Industry Canada's Small Business Internship Program (SBIP) will help Canadian small businesses hire a total of 400 student interns annually to help with ICT projects, improving their productivity and competitiveness.

"SBIP will help small businesses grow through the power of ICT and e-commerce," said Minister of State Ablonczy. "Just as importantly, this program will help post-secondary students across Canada gain valuable work experience, while earning money for their education."

SBIP will allow Canadian small businesses to submit an application to participating delivery agencies in their area. Successful applicants will have the opportunity to directly hire a qualified student intern for a 12-week period to help them with e-commerce ICT projects. SBIP will reimburse up to 75 percent of each participating SME's eligible salary and benefit costs.

"SBIP is an important part of Canada's Economic Action Plan," added Minister of State Ablonczy. "It is vital during the current economic instability that we do whatever we can to help small businesses, which account for so many Canadian jobs. As well, we need to ensure that Canada's youth have the skills and experience to take advantage of the opportunities that will arise as the economy improves. SBIP will meet both of these needs."

Industry Canada will send out a request for applications from organizations that want to participate as delivery agencies for SBIP. These delivery agencies will be responsible for selecting SMEs to participate in SBIP. This is being done in anticipation of the first interns being placed with small businesses this summer.

SBIP is a collaborative effort of Canadian small businesses, post-secondary institutions and non-government organizations that offers promising post-secondary students hands-on experience working on e-commerce projects under the mentorship and coaching of entrepreneurs.

SBIP will receive $17.5 million in funding through 2014 as part of the Government of Canada's Youth Employment Strategy.


BACKGROUNDER

Small Business Internship Program

The Small Business Internship Program (SBIP) helps small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) go beyond simply having email or an Internet site by enabling them to adopt an active e-business strategy that will help them prosper during the current economic instability.

SBIP provides financial support to qualified SMEs so they can hire student interns to assist them adopt information and communications technologies (ICT). This support will help participating SMEs increase their productivity and competitiveness in order to grow their businesses. Participating SMEs will receive a reimbursement of up to 75 percent of their wage and benefit expenses for hiring a qualified student intern under SBIP to help them with an e-business or ICT project.

SBIP also offers promising post-secondary students valuable, hands-on job experience working on e-business and ICT projects under the guidance of entrepreneurs. Student interns will gain an appreciation of entrepreneurship and the opportunity to explore career possibilities while making money to continue their education.

Canada's Economic Action Plan introduced numerous measures to assist small businesses in the short term, while positioning them for long-term growth. The Plan also contained measures to create opportunities and better jobs across Canada through skills development. As well, the Plan contained measures to address short-term economic challenges facing sectors, regions and communities as a result of the global economic instability. It will help sectors position themselves for long-term competitiveness. Commitments to improve the broadband infrastructure in rural communities mean that more rural businesses will have greater opportunity to use information technologies and e-commerce to help to grow their businesses.

SBIP is a component of the federal Youth Employment Strategy (YES) and will be well positioned to support these initiatives. SBIP will contribute to YES by helping young Canadians get on-the-job experience while they earn money to continue their post-secondary education. SBIP supports Industry Canada's mandate by helping Canadian SMEs become more competitive in the knowledge-based economy.

SBIP receives $3.5 million in annual funding through YES. Funding is confirmed until March 31, 2014. Approximately 400 students will benefit annually from 420 hours of full-time employment. Approximately 400 SMEs each year will benefit from improved ICT capacity.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Diane Ablonczy
    Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism)
    Catherine Godbout
    613-947-5856
    or
    Industry Canada
    Media Relations
    613-943-2502