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Summary of the evaluation of Futurpreneur Canada

From: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

January 2019

Program Description

  • Futurpreneur is a national, not-for-profit organization that provides financing, mentoring, and business support tools to young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 39.
  • It is funded by the federal government, private foundations, businesses, provincial governments, and income earned from investments, fees, and loan interest.
  • Through ISED, the Government of Canada contributed $103.5 million to Futurpreneur between 2001-02 and 2018-19.

About the evaluation

  • The evaluation examined the relevance and performance of Futurpreneur. It covered the period of 2012-13 to 2017-18 based on qualitative and quantitative research methods.

What the evaluation found

  • There is a continued need for Futurpreneur. It is a unique national program that combines both financial and non-financial support to help address evolving youth employment challenges and barriers to business start-up. Futurpreneur works closely with partners to complement other programs in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. 
  • Futurpreneur has been successful in providing loans to a diverse range of young entrepreneurs and the majority of those who have received Futurpreneur support have been able repay their loans. 
  • Futurpreneur has over 3,000 volunteer mentors across Canada to provide young entrepreneurs with one-on-one advice and support through Futurpreneur's mandatory mentorship program.
  • The evaluation could not assess the ability of young entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and contribute to the entrepreneurial ecosystem due to data and performance measurement limitations. However, in 2017-18, Futurpreneur committed to the collection of data that will facilitate the assessment of longer-term outcomes in the future.
  • In terms of its delivery model, prior to 2014-15, Futurpreneur relied heavily on community partners to attract and support young entrepreneurs to complete their loan applications for submission. As of 2014-15, Futurpreneur shifted to a more direct intake model that added the option for young entrepreneurs to work directly with Futurpreneur staff to prepare their applications. Overall, the transition to direct delivery has increased efficiency. However, the reduced role of community partners may be impacting levels and types of client service.
  • Futurpreneur has exceeded expectations to match federal funding with non-federal sources and has increasingly become more self-reliant. However, federal funding has been provided through two-year funding cycles which may impact Futurpreneur's reach and ability to secure other sources of funds.

Recommendations (as agreed upon by management)

  1. ISED should work with Futurpreneur to establish a robust performance measurement regime that clearly defines short-, medium- and long-term outcomes, collects data on established metrics and considers additional indicators related to skills acquired by young entrepreneurs, in addition to the success of Futurpreneur businesses.
  2. ISED and Futurpreneur should examine the impacts of the shift in delivery model on client service, including whether it impacts program reach in certain areas.
  3. ISED should examine longer-term funding contribution options to support program stability and Futurpreneur's progress towards longer-term outcomes.
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