Certificate Program


Applications are currently closed.

Program Dates:

September 19, 2023 – January 19, 2024


YEDI accepts leaders from 15 not-for-profit organizations per cohort. An Expert Committee comprised of industry experts and partners will be responsible for evaluating applications based on set criteria.


  • Not-for-profit organization from any sector

  • Applicant is the Executive Director or Founder (other leaders within the organization will also be considered)

  • Any adult age or background


Accepted leaders undergo a free, intensive 16-week program including formal academic lectures led by York Entrepreneurship Development Institute instructors, workshop-based training in entrepreneurship, and mentorship by key industry leaders. Upon program completion, leaders will have a formal certificate from the York Entrepreneurship Development Institute along with a professionally developed business plan, executive summary, and proper business model ready to take their organizations to the next level.


YEDI is sector agnostic and will consider start-ups from any industry.


All courses and workshops are conducted online.

Curriculum Components


Not-for-profit leaders participate in sessions facilitated by York Entrepreneurship Development Institute professors & instructors, providing a solid foundation in business theory and economics. Theory examined includes: entrepreneurship, marketing strategy, business development and growth, finance and communication skills. Successful entrepreneurs quickly need to learn where they lack expertise and require a network of support. Entrepreneurs participate in sessions that will prepare them for real-life application of theory to achieve inspiration, ideation, and implementation. Topics include: visioning & environmental scanning, finance and fundraising. Sessions take place once per week.

  • Week 1. Welcome Session/Visioning, Ideation and Inspiration; Environmental Scanning: Looking at Market Opportunities and Social Challenges
  • Week 2. Leadership, Building a Team & Volunteer Management
  • Week 3. Business Planning and Modelling: Drafting a Roadmap for Success. Expansion and Enlarging Social Impact
  • Week 4. Business Model Canvas, Operations: Build a Solid Work Plan of Achievable Tasks
  • Week 5. Marketing, Sales and Promotion: Strategy, Tools and Avenues
  • Week 6. Business Planning and Modelling (Personal Session)
  • Week 7. Prototyping and Market Testing: Proof of the Idea and Concept of Viability
  • Week 8. “Friendraising”: Networking and Pitching Skills
  • Week 9. Budgeting and Financial Planning: Developing Towards Self-Sufficiency
  • Week 10. NPO and Charity Organizations in Ontario, Tax and Legal Implications
  • Week 11. Budgeting and Financial Planning (Personal Session)
  • Week 12. Strategy for Raising Money, Sources of Funds, Practical Experience
  • Week 13. Digital Promotion: NPO Internet Activities and Marketing
  • Week 14. Business Communications: Customer Service and the Executive Summary
  • Week 15. Pitching Business Proposals
  • Week 16. Presentation to Potential Stakeholders, Course Evaluation, Graduation, Venture Fair

Venture Fair

Social enterprises need as many opportunities as possible to showcase their organizations. Upon successful completion of the program, leaders will present their not-for-profits at the exclusive Venture Fair and pitch for the opportunity to receive funding from funds, donors, sponsors and additional stakeholders.

The Venture Fair provides a concrete opportunity for leaders to showcase their organization’s business plan, models, and milestones to a funder audience, as well as create industry partnerships that will take their not-for-profit organization to the next step in development and success.

Peer Clusters & Milestones

Organizations often benefit by sharing best practices, challenges, and accomplishments with one another. The YEDI Director coordinates regular cluster meetings to facilitate constructive feedback, group exercises, and peer-support. Students are also expected to complete bi-weekly milestone deliverables that are assigned to guide the business development process. Each milestone and achieved goal will form a component of the final proof-of-concept, with which the entrepreneur will graduate the program.


Participants will be matched with subject matter experts across diverse industries. The YEDI Director will ensure that volunteer mentors from pertinent sectors are available for valuable insight, problem-solving, as well as networking opportunities.

Communications Support

A not-for-profit will not survive in a competitive market if it lacks customer service, people management skills, and is unable to relate well to clients, vendors, staff and donors. YEDI training provides both a lecture and a seminar involving key components of business communication skills. Our partner 3V Communications helps leaders of not-for-profits with their organizational branding, writing, communication tactics and pitch presentations.



YEDI is a not-for-profit, charitable institution granting a formal education where emphasis is placed on an intensive, educational, as well as hands-on program and workshop for not-for-profit leaders. YEDI believes in training and skilled entrepreneurship as the fundamental tool in refining a service and a launch pad for attracting resources and financing. Following program completion, leaders will present their not-for-profits at the exclusive Venture Fair and pitch for the opportunity to receive funding from funds, donors, sponsors and additional stakeholders. See “YEDI Advantage” to learn more about YEDI’s opportunities and benefits.

No. “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” YEDI believes in first providing real training to cement exceptional entrepreneurial skills prior to giving ventures access to capital.

Yes. As a participant, you will first be thoroughly prepared by a guided process in the creation of a solid not-for-profit model that is financially viable, marketable, and attractive to funders. You will then have the exclusive opportunity to showcase your proof of concept at the YEDI Venture Fair, liaise with industry members, and pitch your project for a chance to receive funding from donors, sponsors, funds and additional stakeholders.

The YEDI program will cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset for not-for-profits, training them to become efficient, to create and use budgets wisely, and to bring more of a business edge to their social mission in order to achieve their goals.

If you are selected as a participant and accept the offer, you must remain completely committed throughout the duration of the 16-week program, this means your attendance at the weekly evening lecture, seminar, or workshop is mandatory. Additionally, you must submit the milestone assignments in a timely manner. YEDI provides intensive and rewarding training of the highest caliber; you are expected to exercise discipline and readiness to undergo entrepreneurial development at this level.

The program takes place in our hybrid learning classroom (in-person or online option available).


There are no course or application fees and the program is offered absolutely free.

YEDI is accepting not-for-profit organizations from any field.  See “Eligibility” for full details.

Applications are first pre-screened by experts. Secondly, they are reviewed by the Selection Committee, which is composed of a special panel of judges from venture capital, not-for-profit, and for-profit circles, based on a set rubric that aligns with YEDI values. Selected candidates are then shortlisted and interviewed by the program advisors. Those who succeed this phase then proceed to be inducted to the program.

See our “Privacy Policy” for the terms and conditions for program applicants.

We believe that good ideas can be born at any age, to anyone. YEDI’s program is not limited to students. All adult ages are welcome to apply.s.

Applicant should be the Executive Director, CEO’s will be considered.

The program is offered to Canadian citizens or permanent residents. Applications will only be accepted online.

The deadline to apply is September 9th, 2022.

If the portal is not accepting your application after two attempts, send an alert to apply@yedi.ca.

Have more questions about this program?

Contact us at info@yedi.ca