Self-Employment Services

Self-Employment Services

We can help you to turn a great business idea into successful self-employment.  If you have been unable to find sustainable employment, and you meet the eligibility requirements, Self-Employment Services can provide you with financial assistance, entrepreneurial support and training while you develop and implement your business plan.


Four Steps to Self-Employment:

1.   Eligibility

To be eligible for Self-Employment Services, you must be:

  • Unemployed or working fewer than 20 hours per week
  • Currently on Employment Insurance (EI), OR have earned at least $2,000 in EI insurable earnings in 5 of the last 10 years, OR have BCEA PWD/PPMB designation, OR a general disability designation
  • Legally entitled to work in Canada

To be considered for Self-Employment Services, you must be prepared to work a minimum of 35 hours per week in your business, which must be:

  • A new business, or an existing business that you have had no prior ownership in, and that you plan to purchase
  • A business that will not result in putting another individual out of business
  • Suitable for public funding
  • A business that has not yet begun operation, generated revenue, or advertised the intended products or services

For people with disabilities, participation requirements can be more flexible to accommodate disability-related needs.

If you are in doubt about any of these eligibility requirements, please Contact Us to learn more details.

2.   Employment Counselling

An AVEC Employment Counsellor will work with you to determine whether you are unable to obtain sustainable employment in the local labour market, and whether you have the entrepreneurial aptitude as well as the attitude, skill and sufficient product/service knowledge and experience related to your business idea to potentially be successful as a self-employed entrepreneur.

Once you have been assessed as eligible for, needing and potentially suitable for Self-Employment Services, you will be referred to the one-day Orientation & Assessment workshop.

3.   Self-Employment Orientation & Assessment

The one-day Orientation & Assessment workshop will help you to assess your suitability and readiness for self-employment, your understanding of the requirements and risks involved, and your capacity to be successful in your new business. You will be provided with information on Self-Employment Services and applicant requirements, some entrepreneurial assessments, and information on what is required for you to complete the Business Concept Development and SE Application. This workshop takes place at AVEC in Port Alberni, or on the west coast in Tofino or Ucluelet. Following the Orientation & Assessment workshop, you will complete the Business Concept Development form and you will be considered for referral to Self-Employment Services with Amber Education Services for their approval.

4.   Self-Employment Services

Amber Education Services will review your Business Concept, and if approved, you will work with them through the next two components as you build your business:

  • Business Plan Development, including 5 days of entrepreneurial workshops
  • Business Launch and Implementation

Coaching and mentoring is provided throughout the Self-Employment services by Amber Education Services, who have specialized expertise and many years’ experience in assisting people to start their own business.

Clients participating in Self-Employment Services may be eligible for financial supports, and/or to continue to receive EI benefits for the duration of the services and are expected to become self-sufficient and independent through self-employment upon completion.

If you believe you fit the above eligibility rules and you would like to get started, please call or drop into one of AVEC's offices.

Self-Employment Resources:


  • Community Futures Development Corporation of Alberni-Clayoquot Community Futures Alberni Clayoquot provides a variety of different support services to people wanting to start, expand, franchise or sell a business in the community.  Community Futures is a non-profit organization guided by a volunteer Board of Directors and staffed with business professionals, providing financing alternatives to small and medium enterprises when access to credit is a challenge to starting or growing their business.
  • Nuu-chah-nulth Economic Development Corporation (NEDC) - Port Alberni -  NEDC is an Aboriginal Community Futures Development Corporation in Port Alberni, servicing the Nuu-chah-nulth region (Kyuquot to Nitnat Lake area).  They are also an Aboriginal Financial Institution servicing all of Vancouver Island, offering various funding options for business development and business support.
  • City of Port Alberni - business licensing information - Clearly laid out steps, with supporting guides, documents and links, for starting a small business in the city of Port Alberni.
  • District of Ucluelet - Planning & Building Services - This page has information and links regarding licencing, zoning and permits for starting and operating a buxiness in the District of Ucluelet.
  • District of Tofino - Business Licencing - Tofino's business licencing page, with information on permits, zoning and application forms.
  • Alberni Clayoquot Regional District - Information on zoning and population statistics, and a good list of contacts for operating a business within the ACRD.
  • Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce - The "Voice of Business" in the Alberni Valley, the Chamber of Commerce offers networking opportunities and information on doing business here.

BC Government:

  • WorkBC Small Business Planning Resources - WorkBC's all-inclusive Resource Centre for planning, starting, financing, growing or exiting a small business in BC.
  • Is Self-Employment For You? (WorkBC) - Assessments, tools, information and resources to help entrepreneurs become successful in BC.
  • Small Business BC - BC's premier resource centre for business products and services, this site is well worth exploring for the vast amount of information and services they provide for starting and operating a small business in BC - everthing from how-to's & checklists to registering your business.  Small Business BC is supported by funds from Western Economic Diversification Canada and the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training.

Canadian Government:

  • Entrepreneurial Potential - Self Assessment Test: A useful tool to assess your aptitude, motivation and drive to run your own business, from the Business Development Bank, which is a financial institution owned by the Government of Canada.
  • Canada Customs and Revenue Agency - CRA's business page provides all the important information you need to comply with Canada's tax regulations, including information on business structure & registration, payroll & deductions and GST/HST rules.
  • Industry Canada - The federal government resource centre for small business, with information and links for statistics & research, financing, permits & licensing and much more.
  • Women's Enterprise Centre - Established by Western Economic Diversification Canada to assist women in starting and growing businesses in BC, Women's Enterprise Centre provides essential business services and resources, including skills training, business loans, mentoring, and other resources.


  • BizPal - Helps you find the permits and licences you may require when starting or operating your business; allows you to customize the search for permits by business type and city or region.
  • ProFile Canada - Searchable, nationwide business directory.
  • Futurpreneur Canada - (Formerly Canada Youth Business Foundation).  Provides mentorship, financing and resources for Canadian entrepreneurs aged 18 to 39 years old.