TCHC tenants trained to become the next beauty entrepreneurs

Two tenant youth posing in front of a banner

Jyzzelle (L) and Colleen, graduates of Toronto Community Housing’s Alternative Entrepreneurship Movement (AEM) program.

A partnership between Toronto Community Housing and RAERE — a leading lash extensions training, marketing and retail shop — saw eight youth graduate from the inaugural Alternative Entrepreneurship Movement (AEM) program.

The program was launched this past summer to equip Toronto Community Housing tenants with creative and business skills needed to earn income as beauty entrepreneurs.

Over a 12-week period, the AEM students learned about the process and application of eyelash extension, best practices in starting a new business, marketing and personal branding using free social media tools.

“Like many women, I love getting my eyelashes done. The training is useful because it helps me to learn new skills on how to monetize my talent. I can now earn extra income through something I do every day,” said Jyzzelle Abrahams, a graduate of the AEM program.

Tenant and staff pose in front of artwork

Olu Villasa (L), Community Services Coordinator at Toronto Community Housing, and Aisha Francis, Co-founder of RAERE and an AEM instructor.

Aisha Francis and Neusa Francisco, co-founders of RAERE, pitched the idea for AEM at the 2018 edition of Toronto Community Housing’s start-up accelerator program for emerging entrepreneurs, Be.Build.Brand. Both Aisha and Neusa are passionate about mentoring young people interested in entrepreneurship.

While welcoming guests at the graduation ceremony, Likwa Nkala, Community and Economic Development Manager at Toronto Community Housing, said that the beauty industry will continue to thrive because of demand. He encourages young people, especially those looking to make extra income and who are passionate about beauty and cosmetics, to take full advantage of AEM’s free training program.

Staff giving a speech into a microphone

Likwa Nkala (R), Manager, Community and Economic Development, Toronto Community Housing, welcomes guests at the graduation ceremony for AEM beauty entrepreneurs.

Another graduate, Colleen Stacy-Annorr, said she plans to integrate what she learned from the program into her fashion business. “The training is a great addition to what I know. It will boost my confidence and help me be a successful entrepreneur,” said Stacy-Annorr.

More than 40 guests, including family and friends of the graduates and the program partners, attended the graduation ceremony held on September 6 at the Art Square Café in downtown Toronto.

Congratulations to all the trainees and their instructors for a successful launch and their completion of the training program.

Group of tenant youth and staff at an art gallery

A Crossview of guests at the AEM graduation ceremony for beauty entrepreneurs.

Are you a Toronto Community Housing tenant looking for empowerment and training initiatives you can be part of? Read more about ongoing FREE skills and career development programs in your community.