The Volunteer Experience at ACCESS / Volunteer Engagement

Volunteers are important members of the ACCESS team helping us to achieve our mission. We offer a range of rewarding opportunities where you can make a difference to the success of our clients and ACCESS initiatives.

The information below provides a summary of volunteer opportunities along with the experience, skills and qualities relevant to each role. Some opportunities require a longer commitment of time and others are virtual and project/outcome specific. Openings for a specific role depend on our current needs and priorities. Our goal is to ensure a good fit for the organization and volunteers in meeting the needs of our clients. We are always pleased to have a conversation to provide further information and to discuss opportunities at ACCESS.

ACCESS values diversity on our team. We are committed to equality in volunteer engagement and welcome applications from individuals who have a range of backgrounds and who bring relevant and or lived experience to supporting our mission.

ACCESS volunteers have a significant impact on supporting the success of clients from early planning stages through the management of their businesses and personal growth as entrepreneurs.

Training & Support

Participating in training and orientation activities are an important part of the on-boarding process for ACCESS volunteers. We appreciate the time and experience volunteers bring to our team and we’re committed to supporting volunteers in the initial stages of your role and throughout the time you volunteer at ACCESS.

Volunteer Opportunities

Business Coach (General & Women’s Business Accelerator)
ACCESS Business Coaches play an important role in supporting clients who may need help in refining a business plan or developing specific skills to run their business more effectively. They offer a wide range of expertise and guidance and work one-to-one with clients. Business Coaches work with clients from the very early planning stages of their business as well as providing ongoing support as a client develops and grows their business after receiving a loan. The role is both rewarding and challenging as some clients may require a significant amount of guidance. Each client partnership is unique based on how a coach can best support the individual needs and situation of a client.

Related Skills & Experience:

  • You bring unique strengths, experience or strong practical knowledge in a range of
    business-related areas which may include planning, operations, marketing, finance, accounting, social media, sales and technology gained from entrepreneurial, small
    business or business advising roles.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills.
  • A good listener, empathetic, patient and client-centric.
  • Community experience (or an interest in) working with low-income, culturally diverse communities.
  • Second language an asset.

Commitment: Six months to one year depending on the coaching assignment. Business Coaches are expected to meet with clients on an agreed upon schedule and provide feedback on the progress of the partnership. Depending on client needs and availability of the coach, meetings may be weekly, bi-weekly or monthly during the coaching period. A customized schedule is developed in collaboration with the client to meet their goals and to accommodate the availability of the client and coach. For our Women’s Business Accelerator program coaches work with clients on 8 week cycles to coordinate with the WBA training session.

Speaker Series, Workshop/Webinar Presenter
Plan, design and deliver business and financial related presentations, workshops, events and webinars relevant to the specific needs of the diverse, cultural and socio-economic clients we serve. Topics are geared to new and small business entrepreneurs, individuals with limited financial knowledge and newcomers. Our presenters work in collaboration with our Program Manager and other volunteers and may co-present at in-person events depending on the session.

 ACCESS provides input to our workshop volunteers on general training topics that would be relevant to the needs of our clients. We, however, welcome the expertise of each volunteer to develop and design individual training sessions.

Related Skills & Experience:

  • Experience as an entrepreneur, small business owner/advisor or with a business environment
  • Experience delivering business or financial workshops/webinars for small businesses and the general public would be an asset.
  • Strong communication, interpersonal & networking skills.
  • Public speaking and presentation.
  • Experience working with diverse cultural and socio-economic groups.
  • Second language an asset.

 Commitment: Will vary based on needs and availability. Workshop presenters can expect to participate in two or more presentations per year.

Women’s Business Accelerator Program – Session Trainers
The Women’s Business Accelerator provides business training and support to newcomer women interested in starting a business in Canada. By the end of this program participants will have completed a business plan and received one-on-one business coaching to support their planning.

The role of the session trainers is to develop, and present specialized content related to small business entrepreneurship. The WBA coordinator will be involved with all training sessions and can co-present if preferred by the session trainer. Responsibilities include preparing and delivering a 2-hour workshop that is educational and engaging.

Related Skills & Experience:

  • Strong communication, interpersonal & networking skills.
  • Public speaking and presentation.
  • Experience as an entrepreneur, small business advising or financial background relevant to session topics.
  • Strong people skills.
  • Experience working with diverse cultural and socio-economic groups and communities.
  • Second language an asset.
Fundraising/Event Advisors
Working with our Communications Associate and/or Executive Director, assist with or lead specific fundraising events, activities and initiatives.

We are currently recruiting a team of volunteers to join our Fundraising/Event Advisory Team. Working with the fundraising lead at ACCESS, the advisory team will share their experience, passion and creativity to plan and deliver a fun and engaging event in the spring of 2020.

If you love event planning and bringing a creative touch to your work, this is a unique opportunity to join a team committed to transforming lives and helping individuals reach their full potential!

Related Skills & Experience

  • Fundraising professional or experience with fundraising campaigns/events
  • or
  • Event planning professional/ experience with coordinating events
  • Creativity
  • Good organizational and project management skills
  • Good problem-solving skills
  • Great communication skills and a passion for working as part of a team


February through June 2020. Approximately 4 to 8 hours per month (time will vary each month depending on priorities). Meetings will be held in person or virtually throughout the planning period and will be scheduled to accommodate the availability of the advisory team.

Outreach Ambassador
Members of the outreach team assist in promoting ACCESS through presentations to potential clients and networking with various groups, cultural and community organizations. They also assist with providing information and connecting with the public at community events, forums or conferences we attend.

 Related Skills & Experience:

  • Strong communication, interpersonal & networking skills.
  • Public speaking and presentation.
  • Experience as an entrepreneur, small business or professional development.
  • Strong people/customer skills.
  • Experience working with diverse cultural and socio-economic groups and communities.
  • Second language an asset.

 Commitment: Six months to one year

Outreach Ambassadors coordinate a schedule for attending events and outreach activities based on organizational needs. The times of events and activities vary including weekday, daytime and evenings and some weekends.

Loan Review Committee (No positions at this time)
(Please note, at the present time, opportunities with this role are currently filled).

The role of the LRC is to review, interview and evaluate potential loan applicants who are applying for small business loans or professional development (Foreign Credentialing) loans. LRC volunteers conduct client interviews to assess the suitability of the applicant and their career or business plan specific to our loan requirements. The client interview and assessment is the first step in the LRC review process, followed by a team review and decision at an LRC meeting for business applications.

Related Skills & Experience:

  • Entrepreneurial experience, knowledge of start-up, small businesses.
  • For small business reviews: Professional experience as a small business owner, financial/business analysis, marketing or other related activities to small business.
  • For professional development reviews: Experience as an educator, career coach/planner, employment service agencies or other related areas
  • Community involvement, experience or interest in working with low-income or newcomer communities.
  • Understanding of and evaluating business plans and/or professional development learning plans.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Second language an asset.

 Commitment: One year

The Loan Review Committee meets monthly for client reviews and ongoing training. LRC Meetings are generally 2 hours in duration (most are virtual meetings with a few in-person meetings to allow the team to connect and network). LRC volunteers are expected to participate in at least one client interview and one meeting per month depending on the flow of client applications. Volunteers are welcome to participate more frequently as their schedules permit.

Other Opportunities
Depending on our current needs, we may have opportunities to help with activities or projects which support the strategic priorities of the organization and volunteer resources initiatives.

Opportunities may include:

  • Research
  • Evaluation
  • Communications/writing – preparing videos, interviewing clients and volunteers and writing short stories/articles for our web site, newsletter, blog and annual report)
  • Technology (advising, research, assisting with related technology needs)

Related Skills & Experience:

  • Business, fundraising, technology, or marketing experience specific to the project role.
  • Strong organizational and project management skills.
  • Good team work skills.
  • The ability to work independently on project specific activities.
  • Creative and innovative.
  • Excellent written communication skills.

 Commitment: The length of commitment will vary and is generally project-specific.

Special project roles can be completed virtually for most roles, on a flexible schedule and are coordinated based on the project or activity timelines.

For further information or to apply:

Please contact Michael Fliess, Coordinator of Volunteer Engagement at volunteers@accessccf.com or 416-462-0496


Volunteer profile: Alexander Carbone

Volunteer profile: Alexander Carbone

Loan Review Committee Memeber

Click here to learn more about Alexander’s contribution to ACCESS.