Makin' Lemonade

Check out youth in NL who are makin' business work!

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It's your business, so start it!

Youth Ventures empowers students aged 12-29 to start their own business.
Do you have a great idea? Do you have the passion and drive to be your own boss? We can help!

Get Started!
Years in operation


Businesses started

Entrepreneurs helped

Here's how we can help

Discovering an idea

Discovering a business idea that fits your skills and personal goals.

Business planning

Creating a detailed business plan to guide you as you grow.

Marketing direction

Marketing direction and materials to get your business noticed.

Financial advice

Financial advice and support in getting your business up and running.

Hiring employees

Determining when and what employees to hire.


Constant advice and support from an experienced mentor.

So, are you ready to bring your business idea to life?

Get started!

Latest news

Meet Your Coordinator

Meet Your Coordinator: Jenelle Pardy – CBDC Emerald

Today is the second of our new series “Meet Your Coordinator”! We will be interviewing your local Youth Ventures Coordinator so you can get to know them. Next up is Jenelle Pardy who is based at CBDC Emerald.


What’s your name? 

Jenelle Pardy

What Youth Ventures site are you based out of? 

CBDC Emerald

What are some of your favourite hobbies?

Some of my favourite hobbies are badminton, softball, reading, and travelling.

What’s your favourite movie?

The day after tomorrow

What is your favourite band?

I don’t have a favourite band but, my favourite singer is P!NK.

What is your favourite restaurant?

Jungle Jims!

Do you have any pets?

One dog, his name is Charlie.

What does entrepreneurship mean to you?

Entrepreneurship to me means that someone is starting a business or businesses that they feel passionate about and believe in, and are hopeful about making a profit from their business.

What is the coolest business you heard of?

I really like Jack Axe’s in St. John’s. Who knew that throwing axes would be so much fun?

What are you looking forward to most this summer?

This summer I am looking forward to interacting and communicating with the youth in the area and helping them become more involved within the community.

What are some interesting business opportunities you see in your region?

I see a great interest for bath bombs in the region! I really hope someone takes on that opportunity because it has a lot of potential in the area.

What do youth in NL need to know about Youth Ventures?

Youth Ventures is a free program for you to take advantage of! It has the ability to provide you with the tools you need to start and maintain a business, as well as get more involved within your community. Create your own terms of employment doing exactly what you love to do!

What is the most important thing people of any age who want to start a business need to know?

I think that it is really important for all ages to know that there is help out there. You do not have to start your business alone, or feel like you have no one to help you. Starting your own business is sometimes difficult and a lot of work. Youth Ventures is there to help you make the process easier and help you along in any way possible. You are most definitely not alone in this process!

How can people get in touch with you if they’d like to talk about starting a business?

Highway 410

P.O. Box 508

Baie Verte, NL

A0K 1B0

Tel: (709) 532-8312

Fax: (709) 532-4669


Don’t forget – we’re having a contest!

To enter:

1. Take a selfie with a Youth Ventures co-ordinator or participant

2. Upload it to Facebook or Instagram

3. Tag YouthVenturesNL and use the #MakinLemonade

Basket will be drawn August 10, 2017. Winner will be notified via entry method. Limited to one entry per person.

YV - FB OZFM Post 01


Meet Your Coordinator: Lesleeanne Lambe – CBDC Burin Peninsula

Today is the first of our new series “Meet Your Coordinator”! We will be interviewing your local Coordinator so you can get to know them. First up is Lesleeanne Lambe who is based at CBDC Burin Peninsula.

Lesleeanne Lambe

What’s your name?

Lesleeanne Lambe

What Youth Ventures site are you based out of?

CBDC Burin Peninsula

What are some of your favourite hobbies?

  • Crafting
  • Hiking
  • Photography

What’s your favourite movie?

Parent Trap

What is your favourite restaurant?

Jungle Jims

What does being an entrepreneur mean to you?

Someone who has the drive & determination to be brave and try, although they may not succeed at first.

What is the coolest business you heard of?

The Pupcakery (Dog Treats)

What are you looking forward to most this summer?

New ideas & meeting new participants

What are some interesting business opportunities you see in your region?

Food Stands located by our local mine

What do youth in NL need to know about Youth Ventures?

We are here to help & encourage!

What is the most important thing people of any age who want to start a business need to know?

Not to be afraid, everyone starts from the bottom. If at first you don’t succeed, try something different and start again!

How can people get in touch with you if they’d like to talk about starting a business?

W.R Building , Ville Marie Drive

P0 Box 470

Marytown, NL

A0E 2M0

(709) 279-4540

Don’t forget – we’re having a contest!

To enter:

1. Take a selfie with a Youth Ventures co-ordinator or participant

2. Upload it to Facebook or Instagram

3. Tag YouthVenturesNL and use the #MakinLemonade

Basket will be drawn August 10, 2017. Winner will be notified via entry method. Limited to one entry per person.

YV - FB OZFM Post 01

2016 Youth Ventures Award Winners
Program Updates

2016 Youth Ventures Award Winners

On August 18th, 2016, Youth Ventures celebrated the 19th Annual Youth Ventures Awards, presented by the CBDC. During this afternoon event, 7 young entrepreneurs were recognized for their excellence throughout the summer program. 2016 was an amazing year for many youth in our province and we’re ecstatic to be part of their entrepreneurial journey. To learn more about the amazing, young entrepreneurs thriving in this province, check out their businesses below!

2016 Venture of the Year

The Mermaid Yogi, St. John’s, NL

Larry Fawcett, Chairperson of the NL Association of CBDCs (Left), Allanah MacNeil, Owner of The Mermaid Yogi (Right)

The winner of the Youth Ventures award for Venture of the Year, sponsored by NL Association of CBDCs, is Allanah MacNeil.

This award is given to the business that was overall the most successful and well established business of that year. This business is quite visible, profitable, well known and the participant usually works full time. The nature of the business usually has the potential for longevity.

Allanah MacNeil is a graduate student in Community Health at the Faculty of Medicine. From a young age Allanah has always been comfortable around children and decided to combine her passion for helping children grow and develop with her love of yoga.

The Mermaid Yogi is a business owned and operated by Allanah that aims to motivate families to get active together in a non-competitive atmosphere from a very young age. Her classes allow people to explore self-expression and learn to control their emotions with relaxation techniques and poses to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Currently, Allanah offers classes in Witless Bay, Paradise, and St. John’s available for infants up to and including adults.

Sponsored by cbdc_logo_large


2016 Excellence in Financial Management

Dimmer’s Dynamic Salon, Marystown, NL

Shane Kennedy, Manager of Consulting, BDC (Left), Jenna Dimmer, Owner of Dimmer’s Dynamic Salon (Right)

The winner of the Youth Ventures award for Excellence in Financial Management, sponsored by BDC – Business Development Bank of Canada, is Jenna Dimmer.

This award is given to a business with outstanding financial record keeping and has run a cost effective business.

Jenna is the owner and operator of Dimmer’s Dynamic Salon, an up and coming Hair Salon that is based on the Burin Peninsula. In 2015 Jenna heard about the Youth Ventures Program and decided to pursue her dream of operating her own hair salon. Jenna is the owner/operator of a salon in Marystown called ‘Dimmer’s Dynamic Salon’. Dimmer’s Dynamic offers a variety of services ranging from cuts (women, men, children), colours, highlights, foils, waxing, manicures, pedicures, gel nails, shellac (fingers and toes), as well as Solarium services.

Jenna is very passionate about what she does, and she aims to go above and beyond to satisfy her clients. Her book keeping abilities since opening her business have been impeccable, which in turn makes for outstanding financial management.

Sponsored bybdc_logo_horiz_rgb

2016 Excellence in Marketing

The PupCakery, Marystown, NL

Kelsey Brennan - The Pupcakery
Jonathan Connors, Manager, Event 3Sixty (Left), Kelsey Brennan, Owner, The Pupcakery (Right)

The winner of the Youth Ventures award for Excellence in Marketing, sponsored by Event 3Sixty, is Kelsey Brennan.

This award will be given to the business that used outstanding marketing to develop the business’s brand. Creativity in attracting customers and determining pricing are examples of excellent marketing initiatives.

Kelsey Brennan is a 20-year-old young woman currently living in Marystown.  Kelsey is the owner/ operator of ‘The Pupcakery’, which specializes in all-natural, gluten-free, vet approved dog treats. Kelsey has had several clients since starting her business, and the demand is continuously growing. With her distinct logo and in-depth knowledge of her target market, Kelsey’s business has been active on social media and at local events throughout the community.

Sponsored by


2016 Outstanding Venture (17 years and under)

Hunter’s Woodworking, St. Alban’s, NL

Michelle Coughlan, Manager, Public Affairs, Newfoundland Power (Left), Hunter Skinner, Owner of Hunter’s Woodworking (Right)

The winner of the Youth Ventures award for Outstanding Venture (17 years and under), sponsored by Newfoundland Power Inc., is Hunter Skinner.

This award goes to a business owned by a youth, 17 years and under, who has experienced significant achievement during the current year and stands out amongst the crowd.

Hunter Skinner is a 15 year old entrepreneur from St. Albans, and the owner of “Hunter’s Woodworking”. At the age of 6 years old, Hunter picked up a hammer, and started helping his father who was building their house. Since then he has undertaken various woodworking projects. Last year, he designed and created his very first wishing well and flower planter, after his mom expressed interest in having one of their own in their front yard.

Fast forward to June 2016 – Hunter has perfected his product, and with the help of Youth Ventures started his own woodworking business. Each wishing well is 5.5 feet tall and created with a consistently high level of skill, and uncompromising quality. Hunter’s Wishing Wells are sturdy, water-sealed and stained (upon request).

Sponsored by NLPower color logo


2016 Excellence in Product Design

Wild Flower Company, Port aux Basques, NL

Justine Anderson, Wild Flower Company
Justine Anderson, Owner of Wild Flower Company (Left), Allison Chislett, Owner of IDesign (Right)

The winner of the Youth Ventures award for Excellence in Product Design, sponsored by I Design Ltd., is Justine Anderson.

This award will be given to a business that shows unique talent in the craft or artistic ability of their product. The ability to create a unique product which is difficult to copy will be regarded highly for this award.

Justine Anderson a creative young woman living in Port aux Basques, Newfoundland. In 2014 Justine started her dreamcatcher company, Wildflower Co., where she handmade and sold her dreamcatchers while going to school. In 2016 Justine joined up with Youth Ventures and opened her own kiosk in the popular Scott’s Cove Park in Port aux Basques. She has expanded into making handmade, organic bath bombs, body butters, and scrubs while still staying true to her roots by continuing with her dreamcatchers.

Sponsored byIDesign Logo


2016 Excellence in Arts and Tourism

Makenna’s Jams & Pies, St. Anthony, NL

Makenna Patey, Owner of Makenna’s Jams & Pies (Left), Dion Finlay, Chairperson of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador (Right)

The winner of the Youth Ventures award for Excellence in Arts & Tourism, sponsored by Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador, is Makenna Patey.

Businesses eligible for this category delivery a product or service in the visual and performing arts or cater to the culture and tourism industry. Businesses should demonstrate what makes them unique and how they excel in their industry.

Makenna is the owner of Makenna’s Jams & Pies based out of St. Anthony. Makenna started this business after her sister started her business back in 2012. One day her mom had a lot of jams made and there was a lot of bus tours around in the community to see icebergs, so Makenna put out a small table to see if she could sell a few bottles of jam. She soon discovered she had a profitable business when she sold out of jam in only one day. Now she sells to both tourists and locals, and has since expanded her business to include pies as well.

All of Makenna’s products are all homemade, with pies being made using her Nan’s recipe and fresh berries picked in the Bight area or in Codroy Valley. Makenna has been promoting and selling her products at tourist attractions and event all across St. Anthony, with some of her customers being from as far away as Switzerland!

Sponsored by HNL Logo


2016 Excellence in Customer Service

Jessica’s Goodies, Daniel’s Harbour, NL

Jessica House, Owner of Jessica’s Goodies (Left), Dave Rouah, Commercial Account Executive, Wedgwood Insurance (Right)

The winner of the Youth Ventures award for Excellence in Customer Service, sponsored by Wedgwood Insurance Limited, is Jessica House.

This award will go to the business that is outstanding in going over and above what is required in the area of customer service. This business usually promotes customer service as the cornerstone to its success.

Jessica House lives in Daniel’s Harbour. She is 14 years old and will be going to grade 10 at Holy Cross All Grade School in the fall. Jessica has a passion for baking so she decided that she would start a baking business out of her home.

Jessica excels in customer service by ensuring that all of her traditional baked newfie goods are delivered in pristine condition to senior citizens living in her area. She took notice that a lot of seniors in her community needed someone to do baking for them so she decided to start “Jessica’s Goodies.”

 Sponsored bywedgwood


2016 Mentor of the Year

Jennifer Bennett, Placentia, NL

Colin Holloway, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister, Department of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development (Left), Jennifer Bennett, Mentor of the Year (Right)

The winner of the Youth Ventures award for Mentor of the Year, sponsored by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, is Jennifer Bennett.

This award is presented to a mentor in the program who has gone above and beyond to assist youth within the community by providing advice and guidance on how to start and run a business.

Jennifer is the Executive Director of the Community Youth Network in Placentia as well as the Allied Youth Post Adviser. Jennifer has been an asset to Youth Ventures for a number of years and has helped bridged the gap between the Youth Venture Coordinator in Placentia and the kids in the area by encouraging them to be involved with the program. Jennifer has devoted her life to helping youth and connecting them to the community.

Sponsored by NL Government Logo


2016 Star Coordinator

Vanessa Strugnell, Port Hope Simpson, NL

Stan Reid, Past Chairperson of the NL Association of CBDCs (Left), Vanessa Strugnell, Star Coordinator, (Right)

The winner of the Youth Ventures award for Star Coordinator is Vanessa Strugnell.

During Vanessa’s time as coordinator for Southern Labrador with the Labrador Straits Community Youth Network, she has gone above and beyond for her participants. Vanessa is always eager to help her participants with whatever they may need and has been enthusiastic about her role in helping youth since day one.


Thank you!

The Youth Ventures Program is made possible through the financial support of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as the 22 delivery sites and the corporate sponsors mentioned above. 2016 has been an incredible year for the program and we’re excited about what the future holds.

Thank you to everyone who has supported the program and if you’re interested in finding out more information, please email

5 Reasons to Start your Business in Newfoundland and Labrador Today
All, Business Tips

5 Reasons to Start your Business in Newfoundland and Labrador Today

A lot of people are distracted lately by the price of oil, provincial budgets, and the Muskrat Falls project. What many people aren’t paying attention to are the opportunities available in this province for businesses to start and grow. It’s important to remember, Newfoundland and Labrador is dominated by small businesses. They’re what keep the economy moving and entrepreneurs, like you, are the ones that are making things happen. If you’ve ever considered starting a business, there’s no better time than now, and here are 5 reasons why starting in Newfoundland and Labrador should be top of mind:

  1. Import vs Export: Newfoundland and Labrador imports far more than it exports. Although it can be expensive to import products for this very reason, there are shipping containers leaving this province empty. What does that mean? That means there’s huge opportunity to manufacture and export a product to the rest of Canada or anywhere else in the world.
  2. The Exchange RateHave you looked at the loonie lately? Most see a dip and get concerned that shopping stateside is now more expensive. What you should be thinking about is what you can sell to our counterparts to the south. If you’re selling to the states right now, the odds are ever in your favour. With the current exchange you can get close to 20%+ boost in profit. What products or services do you have that can be marketed to the states?
  3. Labour Market: Newfoundland and Labrador has always had a dedicated and loyal workforce. Companies have moved here for that specific reason. There’s a tremendous amount of local talent and resources in Newfoundland and Labrador. Look around you and take advantage of it.
  4. Developing Industries: Newfoundland and Labrador hasn’t yet met its potential in development, in fact, we’ve barely scratched the surface. Our landscape provides huge opportunity for adventure and eco tourism. Our limited food supply leaves huge opportunity in agriculture as more people want fresher, readily available foods. Our aging population leaves huge opportunity to provide services to that demographic which aren’t currently being met. The list goes on…
  5. Technology has no boundaries: Small businesses can embrace technology and use it to their advantage whether that means selling online, developing an app, or creating something else entirely different. The infrastructure is here and so is the support to help you make your technological dream a reality.

Want to see more? Click here to read Are you Meant to Be an Entrepreneur?

Interested in starting your business today?  Click here to Meet Our Coordinators and learn how they can help you get started!

How to Turn Your Passion into a Business
All, Business Tips

How to Turn Your Passion into a Business

Do you have an idea that you just cannot seem to get out of your head? Do you feel this idea could have the potential to turn into a profitable business? Does this idea fill some kind of void in the current market or solve a problem/need for you or someone you know? If the answer is yes to one or more of these questions it might be time to turn your passion into a business. How do you do this you may ask, no worries we’ve got you covered.

You’ll want to start by building your network. This doesn’t mean approaching randoms on Linkedin and asking them to join your network. What it does mean is finding people who are similar to you, talking to them, and sharing the common bond of entrepreneurship. Many people don’t understand entrepreneurs, mainly because a lot of people don’t understand that level of ambition or in some cases, risk. Think of your network like the foundation of your house, start strong and build up. Find people that you admire and that you trust and it will help you out more than you can imagine.

Chances are, if it’s something you’re truly passionate about, you’re already doing it. Whether it’s baking, programming, photography, the list goes on. But there is a stark contrast in a business and a hobby. Businesses solve problems and they make money for doing so. A lot of people when trying to transition their hobby into a business don’t consider all of the factors. For instance, if you want to do your hobby/passion project full time, how much time does it take you do produce your product/service? If you want to do it full time, it has to pay the bills. You’ll also need to sell enough ie, the market has to be big enough, to support you.

To find out some of those details, you’ll need to start looking at the beginnings of a business plan. Business plans freak people out. What do I have to include? What does it look like? How long does it have to be? But fear not. This isn’t a grade school paper. All business plans are different and the value isn’t in the document, it’s in the process. There are hundreds of templates of business plans available online, simple put, they can be a page long if you want and they all look different. The process of a creating a business plan helps you decide if your idea is worth pursuing as a business. Can you produce the product? Can you sell the product? and Can you sell enough of it to make enough money to live? There are also many people who can help you with this part of your research and guide you through it. We’ll get to that later.

Once you’ve decided that your idea can work, it all comes down to execution. This is why passion is so important, because execution in the long term, isn’t easy. A lot of people can keep up with the grind for a short period, but passion and belief in your idea is what gets you through the long term. Business success isn’t always quick and it’s not always easy, but if you truly believe in what you’re doing and have a strong network around you, anything you’ve dreamed about can be achieved.

One of the main benefits to starting your own business is that you are in charge. Don’t be afraid to dive in and make waves. Doing something you are truly passionate about should be fun and exciting. Never be afraid to take risks with your business and don’t let failure discourage you. Figuring out what doesn’t work with your business is just as important as figuring out what does work.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, there are countless resources to help you turn your passion into a business. Whether it’s the Youth Ventures Program, CBDCs, or other supports, we’re here to help you make it happen.

If you want to learn how our Coordinators can help you turn your passion into a business, click here.

Interested in more? Click here to read Are You Meant To Be An Entrepreneur?

10 Tips for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
All, Business Tips

10 Tips for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs are an elite group of people. Many people have the desire to start their own business but don’t know where to start, so we’ve put together these 10 tips for aspiring entrepreneurs!

Take risks

A lot of entrepreneurs fail before they even have a chance to start because they are afraid to take risks. Our advice, don’t be afraid of risk taking. Being an entrepreneur is a learning process and without risk there is no reward.

Challenge yourself

An entrepreneur wants to do better, be better, and is constantly pushing themselves outside of their comfort zone.

Do your research

Properly look into the industry or marketplace you want to enter and be sure to do your homework. Doing research takes a lot of the uncertainty out of starting a business.

Create a business plan

Yes it might seem like a pain but having a business plan is essential for aspiring entrepreneurs. Without a business plan your business has no direction of what it hopes to achieve. Also, any sort of financing you may need now or down the road requires you to have a business plan.

Know your business goals

Set goals for your business and yourself, then strive to achieve them. Understand what it is you want to accomplish within the next week, month, and year, then set out to do it.

Be willing to put the time in

Becoming an entrepreneur takes time so be aware of how much you are willing to commit. You cannot expect results if you do not put in the hours needed to start and run your business.

Take the negative with the same attitude that you would use with the positive

Understand from the beginning that not everyone is going to have a positive experience with your business. Learn from the unhappy customers, they are a good way to see where improvements can be made to your business.

Understand that you don’t need a lot of money to become an entrepreneur

Often people associate the image of an entrepreneur with someone who has a lot of money. This just isn’t the case, you do not require a lot of money to be an entrepreneur and start your own business.

Don’t stress out about what could go wrong

If you are constantly worried about what could go wrong you will never take risks or challenge yourself. Entrepreneurs focus on what is going right and what calculated risk-taking can bring to their business instead of stressing out about worst case scenarios.

Believe in yourself

The key thing for an aspiring entrepreneur is to always believe in yourself and what you are doing.

Do you think you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Click here to read 5 Reasons Why You Should Start a Business Today!

Already started and want to learn how our coordinators can help you out? Click here to Meet Your Coordinators!


Each year Youth Ventures, with the support of our amazing sponsors, has the privilege of giving out awards to young entrepreneurs who have made an outstanding effort throughout the duration of the program.

See the 2016 Winners

Thanks to our partners


Government of Newfoundland and Labrador


Government of Canada