A local program is helping Calgary women ditch the daily 9-to-5 grind to become their own bosses.
The Women's Venture Program is offered by Calgary-based Momentum, an organization that promotes community economic development.
The six-month program shows women the ropes — helping them create a business and marketing plan and apply for start-up loans.
Necole Hines, a recent graduate, says before signing up for the program she knew nothing about business.
"I didn't know how to put a business plan together, I didn't know what things you needed to get started — especially in the food industry — what different licences you need to get and permits that you need to get. I had no idea."
Hines said the program offered the support she needed to apply for two loans — one through Momentum, another through the Canadian Youth Business Foundation.
She'll be launching her Caribbean catering business, Wings N Tings, at the Kingsland Farmers' Market in December.
Program helps women rise above poverty line
"When I first got started I thought, 'Wow, I have no money and how is this gonna even happen ... it's gonna be ... unattainable."
The program has been around since 2004, helping women rise above the poverty line to be their own bosses.
"They were employed, perhaps, but under employed in their field. So, they weren't actually using their skill sets to the extent that they could. So, entrepreneurship is a way for women to really take their skills and use them to support their families," said Brian Hill, Momentum's fund development co-ordinator.
Hill says the program has a high success rate. Roughly 80 per cent of the women who start the program actually complete it, and produce business plans.
It takes about $150,000 to operate the program on an annual basis.
United Way is one of the program's major funding partners, along with Canadian Women’s Foundation and Nexen.
"This is such an entrepreneurial city, it's an incredibly entrepreneurial city so people get small business and they get that this can be a unique option for women entrepreneurs in particular," said Hill.