Ontario Self Employment Benefits ("OSEB")
What is OSEB?
The Ontario Self Employment Benefits program is for unemployed individuals looking to start their own business. It provides business monitoring and mentorship for 52 weeks and financial assistance in the form of a taxable grant for up to 42 weeks to assist with personal living expenses during the first year of business.
The Norfolk District Business Development Corporation ("NDBDC") is contracted by The Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities ("MTCU") to deliver the OSEB program in Norfolk County.
Who Can Apply?
The OSEB program is available to residents of Norfolk County who meet one of the following criteria:
- Unemployed and receiving Employment Insurance (EI) benefits;
- Unemployed and have received EI benefits within the past 3 years; or
- Unemployed and have received EI maternity/paternity benefits within the past 5 years and remained out of the workforce.
You may start a new business on your own or in partnership (where you partner with another OSEB participant or are the majority decision maker) or you may purchase an existing business. You must not have any previous participation in a similar self-employment assistance program funded by MTCU and must be able to devote at least 40 hours per week to your business.
Those who start their business before it is approved for the OSEB program are not eligible to apply!
How To Get Started
1. Visit the Employment Centre
You must see an employment counselor before the OSEB process can begin! The Employment Center is located across from Tim Hortons at the corner of Hwys. 3 & 24. You may call the Employment Centre at 519-428-1135 Ext. 230 to set up an appointment. Your employment counselor will fill out an employability & eligibility/suitability assessment, if you are deemed eligible for the program. Note: The completion of the employment & eligibility/suitability assessment form does not guarantee that you will be approved for the program. You will then start the process for the OSEB program.
2. The OSEB Process Begins
Attend a "Starting A Business" Seminar at the NDBDC (call Sue Loveless at 519-428-2323 to register) if you reside in Norfolk County. Orientation sessions are offered twice monthly at our office and deal with:
- Advantages and disadvantages of self-employment
- Details on the OSEB program
- Developing a viable business plan, including cash flow forecast
- Sources of business information
- Small business financing
NDBDC staff are also available to answer any specific questions.
3. Meet with the Business Consultant at NDBDC
You will then meet with the Business Consultant at NDBDC to transfer your idea to paper. Staff, in one-on-one meetings, will help you to assess the viability of your business idea. Time requirements vary, depending on the type of business proposed, the research needed and your previous experience. The Business Consultant will instruct you on the requirements of a "Business Concept Proposal", a "Business Plan" and a "Cash Flow Forecast".
You must attend the following seminars at NDBDC: "Market Research", Market Planning", Marketing on a Budget" and "30 Days to a Successful Business"
5. Complete Your Business Plan
Once your Business Plan has been completed, it will be submitted to the OSEB committee for a recommendation on your continued participation in the OSEB program.
6. Attend the OSEB Interview
Applicants are required to make a brief presentation to the OSEB committee for evaluation of their formalized Business Plan. Based upon the 15-20 minute interview with the committee, the committee members will analyze the viability of your Business Plan and make a recommendation regarding your continued participation in the OSEB program. This recommendation is then submitted to MTCU for final approval.
NOTE: At all stages of the OSEB program, MTCU makes the ultimate decision as to your participation in the OSEB program.
Participation in the OSEB Program
Once approved for the OSEB program, you will work closely with the staff at NDBDC to implement your Business Plan. As part of the monthly monitoring meetings with NDBDC staff, you will:
- Establish an efficient manual or computerized record keeping system;
- Meet monthly with NDBDC staff to review your progress and receive technical assistance as required;
- Provide financial information each month on the status of your business activity;
- Attend monthly meetings of the Norfolk Small Business Club to discuss small business topics and network with other entrepreneurs. These meetings are open to the public and the details for these monthly meetings are set out on the NDBDC Web Site.