Franchise Meets Prime Minister Harper


Mar 27, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (March 27, 2009 - Moncton, NB)

Moncton, NB - It has been said that tough times don't last - tough people do and in these economic times, few people can speak first hand to that issue the way Ken LeBlanc can. The Moncton-based entrepreneur who bootstrapped a $100 dollar investment into a national franchising phenomenon was among a select group of business owners who conferred with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister Diane Ablonczy last week at a private gathering organized by the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) in Toronto.

LeBlanc believes with unemployment climbing and research showing more young people than ever anxious to get into business, it was important the Prime Minister and Ablonczy recognize the unique space franchising occupies in the private sector picture. LeBlanc, a member of the board of directors with the Canadian Franchise Association points out, "Time and time again, the numbers tell us that people, who want to start their own business, dramatically improve their odds of success when they buy into an established and reputable franchise organization. I wanted the Prime Minister to know first hand that the world of Canadian franchising has never been brighter and that opportunities are everywhere for self-starters who want to control their own destiny. Change always brings opportunities and we know change is all around us and so are the opportunities."

LeBlanc, Prime Minister and Minister Ablonczy and others were brought together by one of the country's leading youth entrepreneurship organizations, the Canadian Youth Business Foundation. A roundtable discussion with CYBF entrepreneurs, mentors and senior officers explored ways to capitalize on the innovation and energy within Canada's youth by building and supporting an enhanced entrepreneurial culture going forward. LeBlanc's company is routinely cited as one that benefitted from CYBF support in its early growth stages, helping establish a national presence with over 110 franchise units coast-to-coast as it continually challenges the traditional real estate model with its unique private sale platform.

CYBF is on a growth trajectory to support the launch of two new entrepreneurial businesses per day by 2012. Part of the federal government's Economic Action Plan includes a $10 million grant to CYBF which will enable the national charity to help more than 500 aspiring young entrepreneurs start new businesses and contribute quickly to Canada's economic recovery. In total, by 2010, more than 900 entrepreneurs will start a business as a result of the government's funding. These 900 new businesses will create an estimated 5,000 new jobs, $135 million in sales revenue, $32 million in tax revenue, and enable more than 900 volunteer business mentors to share 46,000 hours of knowledge with young protégées.

"At CYBF we believe that entrepreneurship equals economic recovery and our track record proves that our program is part of the solution. The government's generous commitment, coupled with private sector support, recognizes that young entrepreneurs have great potential to generate ideas and expand innovation to keep Canada strong" says Vivian Prokop, CEO, CYBF.

LeBlanc concludes by saying, "More and more students are graduating from colleges and universities and hunting for jobs that don't exist. The positions they have been training for have disappeared, but that doesn't mean they don't have transferable skills and talents that could be applied to their own businesses. Owning a franchise is ideal for young entrepreneurs because it supplies the necessary structure and support to accelerate the start-up energy a young person brings to the table". LeBlanc adds that is actively seeking recent grads as potential franchisees throughout Canadian colleges and universities.


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The Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) is a national charity dedicated to growing our nation's economy one young entrepreneur at a time. We look at character not collateral, when providing youth, age 18-34, with pre-launch coaching, business resources, start-up financing and mentoring, to help them launch and sustain a successful entrepreneurial business.

Founded in 1996, CYBF has invested to date in more than 2,900 young entrepreneurs, whose businesses have generated more than $300 million in sales revenue, $72 million in tax revenue, $36 million in export revenue, and created more than 15,500 new jobs. Through CYBF's national network of community partners, we are able to deliver our program coast to coast with more than 2,600 volunteers across Canada.