Luc Bohunicky hopes new funding from the provincial government will help a new generation of entrepreneurs take flight just like he did.
The founder and CEO of Avid Golf has benefitted from financial and mentoring support from Futurpreneur, a national non-profit that caters to budding entrepreneurs aged 18 to 39.
“It takes a community to raise a start-up,” he says. “Creating something from nothing is hard but it will change lives.”
The province recently announced $1.2 million in funding over four years to support the Futurpreneur Startup Program, which delivers mentorship programming and financing for aspiring entrepreneurs across Manitoba. The government has upped its support from 2020, when it provided $750,000 over three years.
Karen Greve Young, Toronto-based CEO of Futurpreneur, says it has helped 128 entrepreneurs in Manitoba in the last three years and more than 600 over two decades.
“We are poised to make a significant impact on the lives of diverse, young entrepreneurs across the province,” she says.
“This partnership (with the Manitoba government) will provide the necessary support for these young entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into reality, build thriving businesses, and contribute to the economic growth and prosperity of their communities throughout the province.”
Futurpreneur, which rebranded from the Canadian Youth Business Foundation in 2017, receives about half of its funding from the federal government. The rest comes through partnerships with five provincial governments plus corporate partners, including RBC. There are no Manitoba-based corporate partners.
She says she’s impressed with the degree to which young people are prepared to strike on their own with their own ideas.
“Manitoba is one of two communities I’ve seen which have the deepest and richest concentrations of entrepreneurs that we’ve supported,” she says, “The other one is Nova Scotia.”
Futurpreneur has a specific focus on young Indigenous entrepreneurs and does its best to combat the systemic barriers that they face, she notes.
“We’re trying to make things more equitable and give them a chance at financial resiliency and self-realization,” Greve Young says.
Bohunicky has availed himself of Futurpreneur’s services twice. The first time was with a software company called Consultica and now with Avid Golf. The 3,400-square-foot facility on Taylor Avenue has six simulator bays, in which you can “play” 144 different golf courses around the world. It has five employees and three in-house certified professionals who can help you with your game.
“We have more than just a place to have fun. You can come here to improve,” he says.