Lindsey Taylor isn’t quite sure what business she wants to start. But she does know that she wants to get something going. Fortunately for her, Toronto libraries provide a way for her to pursue her passions.
Taylor was at the Danforth/Coxwell branch of the Toronto Public Library on the quiet evening of Sept. 26 in a meeting room bustling full of people of all ages and backgrounds.
They were at a free orientation to learn more about a business development course, Business Inc., offered by the Toronto Business Development Centre.
“Side hustles are pretty popular with the millennial generation so I wanted to learn more and potentially see how I could do something in my spare time,” she said.
The program features several different workshops covering topics like market research and financial management. Started as a partnership between Toronto Public Library’s and the development centre, the program has come to many different branches over the years from the north end to Agincourt. This year’s programs will be running at the Danforth/Coxwell branch and the Northern Distract Branch.
Danny Brennan, director of entrepreneurial programs at the development centre, was there to educate people at the seminar.
“It’s a way of providing information in the community to people who are interested in being self-employed,” Brennan said.
With years of experience in facilitating the program, and having run his own small business in the past Brennan is quite qualified to talk on the subject. He fielded questions from attendees at the event, earnestly offering advice and resources.
Taylor, who works as an engineer full-time was satisfied with the orientation. And she’s considering returning for the full course, which Brennan said has had 750 participants in the years it’s been running.
Taylor emphasized how the business lessons taught in the course could benefit many areas of her life; “A lot of things when it comes down to it, whether you’re working a nine to five, it seems like everything in the end is a business and you have to know how to market yourself.”
Brennan said that he has seen quite a variety of business ideas, ranging from homemade hot sauces to city eco tours, in his time with the program
This diversity of ideas is matched by the variation in people, which Brennan attributes to the accessibility of the program.
“People have an opportunity to take it in their community which is very helpful for a diverse group of clients…I think it’s wonderful that the city is supporting small business growth and they’re actually out in the community to help as much as they possibly can. I think it’s a wonderful time for small business in Toronto.”
Business Inc. is running Tuesday evenings from Oct. 24 at the Danforth/Coxwell branch and Thursdays from Oct. 26 at the Northern District Branch. Applications for the course remain open until Oct. 13, with the program’s enrolment limited to 20 at each location and costing $150 per participant.
Applications can be emailed to [email protected] and questions can be directed to 416-345-9437.