Self Employ PEI
Self Employ PEI is an employment program developed to help job seekers who want to launch their own business. This program provides financial support and business counselling to new entrepreneurs during their first year of operation. SkillsPEI offers Self Employ PEI information sessions for interested job seekers to find out more about the program.
Who is Eligible to Participate?
If you are unemployed and looking for full time employment you are eligible to apply.
- You must be legally authorized to work in Canada (Canadian citizen or permanent resident);
- You must have a current claim for Employment Insurance benefits; or
- You must have a previous EI claim whose benefit period ended within the previous 60 months; or
- An unemployed person who paid, in at least 5 of the last 10 years, employee's premiums that did not entitle the person for a refund (ie. If the person made less than $2000 in earnings in a year, any EI premiums that they would have paid, would be reimbursed);
- You must not have started the operation of your new business prior to program approval;
- Other criteria may apply.
How do I Apply?
If you are interested in the Self Employ PEI program, you must attend an Information Session. After the Information Session, you can set up a time to meet with a Program Officer/Case Manager to complete a needs assessment and develop a Return to Work Action Plan. Once this is complete, you can submit the Self Employ PEI Application for Individuals with your business plan and proof of financing. Please note, applicants must not have started the operation of the proposed business before submitting an application for the program.
To assess your application, we will need:
- Return-To-Work Action Plan:
- Self Employ Suitability Assessment questionnaire;
- Self Employ PEI Application for Funding;
- Detailed business plan;
- Proof of investment or financing;
Your business plan must demonstrate that your business will provide the potential for long term viability. There are many types of eligible businesses that qualify for funding: manufacturing, food and beverage, information technology, trades, retail, etc.
Once you submit your completed application package, SkillsPEI will review your information. Once you receive confirmation that your application has been approved for the Self Employ PEI program, you can open your new business.
When is my Application Due?
There is no deadline for applications under the Self Employ PEI program as SkillsPEI accepts applications on an ongoing basis.
How does the Program Work?
During the first year you are in business you will devote a minimum of 35 hours each week to implement your business plan.
Each week you will receive a weekly living allowance or EI benefits, or a combination of the two. You may also be eligible for a $1,000 consulting grant.
This information is a general guide for applicants. Applications received by SkillsPEI will be assessed against additional program criteria to determine eligibility.
Where can I get more Information?
Call SkillsPEI's general inquiries line at 1-877-491-4766 or visit one of the SkillsPEI offices.
Self Employ Information Sessions
If you are interested in the Self Employ PEI program you must:
Attend an Information Session and a subsequent assessment meeting before submitting an application for the program;
Self Employ PEI information sessions are presented remotely through video using the Microsoft Teams platform and/or telephone every Friday at 10 am - Noon (no session on statutory holiday).
Please note: There will be no information sessions on December 23, 2022 and December 30, 2022. Information sessions will resume January 6, 2023.
You can register for an Information Session by calling the SkillsPEI general inquiries line at 1-877-491-4766 or visit or call one of the four SkillsPEI locations.
Deadline to register for an information session is noon the day prior to the session.
IMPORTANT: Applicants must not have started the operation of the proposed business prior to submitting an application for the program.
Atlantic Technology Centre
176 Great George Street, Suite #212
Phone: (902) 368-6290
120 Heather Moyse Drive
Phone: (902) 438- 4151
548 Main Street
Phone: (902) 838- 0674
Future Tech West
454 Main Street
Phone: (902) 859-8898
Checklist to Apply for Self Employ PEI
Self Employ PEI Application for Funding can be obtained from your SkillsPEI Program Officer when you meet with them to complete your needs assessment.
Business Plan Forms
Business Plan Resources
Funded by the Department of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture through the Canada-PEI labour market agreements.