Evan Dizak will be out of a job at the end of the month.
But all is good.
He always knew his position as youth entrepreneurship co-ordinator with Central Okanagan Community Futures was a limited-time gig because he was hired on a one-year contract.
“It’s been a great year and I’ve been able to accomplish a lot,” said Dizak, 23.
“From working with a non-profit, helping youth and helping build the community, I now also know I want my next job to be working in the community, too.”
Dizak is the first permanent co-ordinator for the Youth Mean Business program operated by Central Okanagan Community Futures.
“We help people aged 18 to 29 start their own business,” said Dizak.
“We help them with the business plan, mentorship and a support network along the way and after they’ve started up their business, too.”
Youth entrepreneurship is at an all-time high.
The youth unemployment rate is high, prompting many young people to look at starting their own company as a viable option.
Also, the Millennial Generation has grown up with the Internet, smartphones and rapidly-changing technology, so they are comfortable with thinking like an entrepreneur.
“We encourage young people to create jobs for themselves,” said Dizak.
“Do something you love and work for yourself. When you are young is the perfect time to start your own business. What do you have to lose?”
Fear of failure is what holds most people, not just youth, back from starting their own business.
But the Youth Mean Business program is designed to keep failure at bay with its stringent business plan, mentorship and follow-up requirements.
Dizak, his brother and a friend did start their own business and failed.
“It was online ticket sales using Facebook and social media marketing,” he explained.
“It didn’t work out. There are already too many established businesses out there selling tickets.”
Two youth-owned-and-operated businesses Dizak is particularly proud to see start and succeed during his tenure are Float Space and ED-ucation Publishing.
Float Space, owned by Alan Healey and Dustin Erickson, is a deprivation float tank spa.
ED-ucation is a niche publisher of books with a message for kids.
Dizak is also pleased with the monthly Okanagan Aspiring Entrepreneur networking events he launched.
“Initially it was going to be a seminar format,” he said.
“But I thought it would work better as an informal pizza and beer networking and socializing event where young entrepreneurs could support each other and hear a short presentation from a guest speaker, who is also likely a young entrepreneur.”
Even though he won’t be working with Community Futures any longer, Dizak expects to continue attending the Aspiring networking because it’s so valuable.
Dizak graduated with a business degree from Okanagan College, where he was also heavily involved in the Enactus program fostering entrepreneurship.
It was one of his professors who told Dizak about the job at Community Futures and told him he’d be perfect for it.
Dizak continues to volunteer with Enactus, most recently mentoring the college team that travelled to Calgary for a competiton and placed first in entrepreneurship.