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Employ to Empower

Employ to Empower is supporting people who face barriers through entrepreneurship and self-advocacy opportunities

pledged of$8,220 goal
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Project Description


Employ to Empower (ETE) is a registered charity that focuses on empowering individuals who face barriers by cultivating community through entrepreneurship and self-advocacy opportunities.

The Challenge

The Metro Vancouver Homeless Count in 2020 revealed roughly 21% of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) population are involved in entrepreneurship. Yet, many low-income entrepreneurs have limited economic and social resources to launch or grow their business. Notably, challenges faced by these entrepreneurs include access to financial literacy, business training, supportive networks, marketing expertise and financing (LENA Report, 2017).

Our Approach

ETE is uniquely positioned to address the challenges faced by low-income entrepreneurs because our holistic community economic development approach supports people who are interested or already involved in entrepreneurship to develop the skills, confidence, relationships, readiness to start or expand their business. ETE offers a business fundamentals training course, personalized mentoring, access to established entrepreneurs, marketing opportunities and micro-loans. We educate, raise awareness and foster community dialogue on issues affecting low-income entrepreneurs by facilitating unique events, exhibitions and public engagement initiatives to challenge the stigma of the DTES.

Why are you seeking funding and how will it be spent?

Sustainability is important in the charitable sector if we are committed to making deep lasting change. We will be using the funds to hire a dedicated part time Entrepreneurship Program Manager contractor so that we can provide the best support to low income entrepreneurs in the neighbourhood.

Our Employ to Empower Family

While the team is young and driven, we have the backing and guidance of senior leaders on our board of directors like Scott Shaw, Co-founder of Sutton Realty and Dr. Sarah Lubik, Director of Entrepreneurship at Simon Fraser University. In addition, to this business expertise, our team has significant experience working with marginalized communities, equipping us to best serve the DTES community

Our Champions 

There is no way simply saying thank you is enough. We've been humbled to earn the support of impact driven partners like Vancity, Daily Hive Vancouver and TELUS. Today, we want to say thank you to VISA for believing in our mission to help us provide opportunities for entrepreneurs in the Downtown Eastside to cultivate self reliance and economic independence.


The Campaign FAQs

How do the entrepreneurs make money?

Employ to Empower is not traditional entrepreneurship. Financial profit is not the be all end all - self confidence, community, purpose and a sense of belonging is. What we've learned from actively listening to the community is that success is relative. Some people want to scale, some people don't. We meet people where they're at and customize a plan tailored to their version of success. At the end of the day, both social and economic empowerment are our key priorities.

How do you recruit people in your program?

Collaboration over competition is one of our core values. If our goal is to truly support as many people as we can, why duplicate? We have friends in the non-profit community and constantly find ways to uplift one another. We have a built a strong referral model where Employ to Empower will refer people to other non-profits, and vice versa.


Monetary Contribution
Dana Nares
Monetary Contribution
Monetary Contribution

Just Because I Care

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