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Stephanie Fung, Jeanette Hudon, Stephen Chychota and Kayvon Razzaghi of The Grow Mugs Project, from the CYBF Flickr site.

The latest news and information for entrepreneurs from across the web universe, brought to you by the Report on Small Business team. Follow us on Twitter @GlobeSmallBiz. Download our app here.

The financing pool expands

Some fundamental changes have been implemented by the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF), which helps launch and sustain successful businesses through coaching, financing and mentoring.

The organization is now classified as a not-for-profit instead of a charity, which CYBF says will enable it to "actively engage and assist a larger diversity of entrepreneurs." As part of that change, the Start-Up Program is now open to individuals 18 to 39, rather than 18 to 34.

Eligible participants are offered up to $15,000 in startup financing by the CYBF, and they could get more than twice that amount through a partnership with the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). Support and informational resources are also available.

"A longitudinal survey conducted by the Kauffman Foundation, the world's largest foundation devoted to entrepreneurship, from 2003 to 2008 found that the average age of small-business founders had increased for all new businesses categories over five years, an example of this shift being technology startup founders at an average age of 39," CYBF states in a press release.

In addition to its day-to-day mandate, CYBF is founder of the G20 Young Entrepreneur Summit (G20 YES) and it is a founding member of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs' Alliance (G20 YEA).

Desire2Learn lands major funding deal

After years of turning down various venture capitalists, Kitchener, Ont.-based Desire2Learn Inc. has tapped two prominent funds for an $80-million investment that will allow the rapidly growing e-learning company to push deeper into global markets and expand further into the corporate market, The Globe and Mail's Iain Marlow reports. The round comes from OMERS Ventures, an arm of the $55-billion pension giant, and U.S.-based VC firm New Enterprise Associates. President and CEO John Baker says the money will be spent on R&D, as Desire2Learn pushes into corporate software, and to bolster global sales and marketing offices.

Disrupting mentorship models

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) and Citi have teamed up to launch #StartupLab, a free "virtual mentorship program" that offers live video chats, how-to guides, an eBook club, and weekly email lessons for aspiring U.S. business owners. The beta phase is live, and YEC founder Scott Gerber tells that the intention of the program is to disrupt traditional mentorship models "by utilizing data and technology to exponentially increase individualized outcomes at mass scale." #StartupLab runs through a Facebook app.


Search is on for innovative firms

The CIX Top 20 is designed to showcase Canada's hottest innovative companies working in digital media and information and communication technology. The program is open to any Canadian business working in those fields with annual revenue under $10 million. Deadline for entries is Oct. 12.

Build your network through events

Join the Women of Whistler on Sept. 27 for a three-panel session on how you can use the power of events to grow your network, raise your profile and take your business to new heights, all while having fun and getting in touch with your community. It runs from 5:45 pm to 8 pm, and costs $35 to $45.


Three things successful companies do well

In an excerpt from Design Works, by Heather M.A. Fraser, she uses a real-life example that brings to life the essence of the 3 Gears of Business Design: empathy, visualization and strategy.


Go big or stay small?

Salem Kassahun owns Salem's Ethiopia, a craft boutique in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Her business was built to showcase the work of indigenous craftspeople and acts as both a tourist destination and producer of authentic local goods. However, demand for her line of baskets started to outstrip the capacity of her business model, which focused on the production of goods within her store environment. Mrs. Kassahun was faced with a challenge, in a story from July: Should she ramp up production through a factory-based operation, or stay small and build on her current business model?

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