About the Self-Employment Program

What You Need To Know:

Community Futures Boundary has delivered the Self-Employment Program (SEP) to Boundary residents since 1993. We have assisted over 359 individuals in starting their businesses, creating more than 518 jobs in the area. The Self-Employment Program also provides business training and financial assistance to clients who wish to create employment for themselves and others by starting or purchasing a “new to you” business.

The Self-Employment Program is funded by the Province of British Columbia and is designed for individuals who require ongoing financial and personal supports while developing and implementing their business plan. The program offers business management training and counseling for new entrepreneurs, and provides financial support for up to 48 weeks.

Program Benefits

  • Personal income support for up to 48 weeks, paid bi-weekly when program requirements are met.
  • If an individual is on an active Employment Insurance (EI), they retain their EI benefits until the active benefit period ceases. If the EI benefits exceed $300 per week, the participant retains those benefits until the active claim ceases, and then is paid $300 per week by Community Futures Boundary until the 48 weeks of SEP benefits are exhausted.
  • If an individual´s EI benefits are less than $300/week, EI will continue to pay the EI rate and Community Futures Boundary will top up the payments to $300/week.
  • If an individual´s EI Active Claim has expired within the last three (3) years for a regular claim or maternity/parental claims, as long as the individual has not returned to the workforce, Community Futures Boundary will pay $300/week for the entire SEP contract.
  • The Self-Employment Program does not provide start up financing. Individuals requiring a business loan to start their business are referred to the Community Futures Loans Officer and other financial institutions.
  • The Self-Employment Program is flexible - however, program requirements must be met.
  • Businesses must be full time, year-round operations.
  • Seasonal businesses can be combined to ensure year-round operations.
  • Supports businesses with flexible hours (pick the hours needed for your business; minimum 35 hrs week)
  • Business management training is provided.
  • One-on-one counseling is provided.
  • Networking opportunities are provided.
  • Workshops are provided with relevant business topics.

Contract Periods

Contracts (to a maximum of 48 weeks) are delivered in phases to provide benefits to assist with personal living expenses while you start your business operations.

Business Plan Development

  • 10 weeks maximum for Business Plan Development to approval by Committee.

Self-Employment Program (Business Launch and Implementation)

  • 24 weeks upon Committee approval.
  • 14 weeks final extension.


Businesses that are supported by the program.

  • Sole Proprietorship, Corporation, and Partnership structures can be supported.
  • Retail, Manufacturing, Service-based mobile, storefront and/or home based business operations.
  • The applicant must hold controlling interest in the business being established.
  • Franchises may be supported: applicants will be assessed based on the level of support, training and control given by the franchise company.

Businesses that are not suitable for the program.

  • A business where revenue is primarily from commissions on sales.
  • A business that is judged to generate income through multi-level marketing.
  • A business that is a subsidiary, or financially supported by another company.
  • People who act as agents or manufacturing representatives, or those that exploit sex, religion, or politics.
  • Businesses that are seasonal will not be supported unless the business can be developed into full time, year-round operations.