Reviving Canadian Youth Entrepreneurship Wave

by / ⠀Featured News / December 4, 2023
Canadian Entrepreneurship Wave

A recent analysis by the Royal Bank of Canada has shown a decrease in entrepreneurial pursuits among Canadians, especially in the younger demographic. The research highlights a reduction in ‘high-potential self-employment initiatives,’ wherein entrepreneurs hire at least one other person, which could potentially impact small businesses nationwide. As of 2022, a mere 4% of Canadian workers have employees, while 13% are self-employed. This downward trend in entrepreneurial activity among younger Canadians raises concerns about the future of innovation and economic growth in the country.

Socioeconomic Factors Contributing to the Decline in Entrepreneurship

Experts suggest that various socioeconomic factors, such as rising housing costs and student debt, could be contributing to this decline in new business ventures, making it increasingly difficult for aspiring entrepreneurs to take the leap. Elspeth Murray, associate professor and director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Social Impact at Queen’s University’s Smith School of Business, considers this decline to be a logical reaction to uncertain circumstances.

Reviving Entrepreneurial Activity in the Future

Numerous individuals opt for side businesses while awaiting more suitable economic opportunities, and Murray foresees a revival in entrepreneurial activity in the future. As economies around the world gradually recover from the impacts of the pandemic, many aspiring entrepreneurs may find themselves ready to take the leap and start their ventures. Moreover, the lessons learned during these challenging times could potentially lead to a wave of innovative and adaptable businesses, paving the way for a more resilient entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Growing Side Ventures and Entrepreneurial Skills

Indeed, a recent study demonstrates that 28% of Canadians have pursued side ventures in the past year, which is twice the number reported in 2022. The skills acquired from these part-time endeavors are expected to aid future entrepreneurs in achieving success when they ultimately dedicate themselves full-time to their enterprises. This increase in side ventures not only highlights the growing entrepreneurial spirit among Canadians but also emphasizes the adaptability and resilience of individuals in the face of economic uncertainty.

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Preparing for a Diverse Generation of Entrepreneurs

As more individuals engage in these part-time projects, they inevitably strengthen their knowledge base and hone their skills, resulting in a more prepared, experienced, and diverse generation of entrepreneurs poised for success in the coming years. Canadian cities, such as Calgary, Edmonton, and Quebec City, have been identified as prime locations for launching businesses. In 2021, Canada produced 18 “unicorn” companies, as per Startup Genome’s research. This trend highlights the country’s strong entrepreneurial ecosystem and supportive government policies that promote startup growth.

Attracting Foreign Investors and International Entrepreneurs

Furthermore, Canada’s robust education system and diverse talent pool continue to attract foreign investors and international entrepreneurs, solidifying its position as a global hub for innovation and business development. Craig MacMullin, CEO of the Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development in Nova Scotia, views today’s young people as well-positioned to become tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.

Increasing Exposure to Entrepreneurship in Education

He acknowledges the difficulty in sparking their curiosity about entrepreneurship, as it is not a central component of school curricula and is often portrayed as a single career trajectory. In order to combat this issue, MacMullin advocates for increased exposure to entrepreneurship through educational initiatives, extracurricular activities, and mentorship opportunities. By providing young people with a variety of forums to explore and develop their entrepreneurial skills, he believes that they will be better equipped to navigate the diverse landscape of the business world in the future.

Addressing Global Challenges with Entrepreneurial Skills

Nevertheless, MacMullin underscores the adaptability of entrepreneurial skills and draws attention to the distinct opportunities it offers for socially aware young individuals to contribute to the issues they care about deeply. By harnessing their innovative mindset, these young entrepreneurs can create sustainable solutions to pressing global challenges, such as climate change, poverty, and inequality.

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Inspiring Future Generations

Furthermore, the combination of passion and business acumen empowers them to effect meaningful change, inspiring future generations to follow in their footsteps and work towards a more equitable world. The revival of entrepreneurial activity among younger Canadians, coupled with supportive government policies and a solid educational foundation, will play an integral role in shaping the country’s economic future and fostering a culture of innovation and resilience for generations to come.

FAQs

What is the current state of entrepreneurship among younger Canadians?

A recent Royal Bank of Canada analysis shows a decrease in entrepreneurial pursuits among Canadians, especially among the younger demographic. Only 4% of Canadian workers have employees, while 13% are self-employed as of 2022.

What socioeconomic factors are contributing to the decline in entrepreneurship?

Various factors, such as rising housing costs and student debt, are making it increasingly difficult for aspiring entrepreneurs to start new business ventures.

How do side ventures play a role in future entrepreneurial activity?

Many individuals are opting for side businesses while awaiting better economic opportunities. The skills acquired from these part-time endeavors are expected to aid future entrepreneurs in achieving success when they ultimately dedicate themselves full-time to their enterprises.

How can education help prepare future entrepreneurs?

Increased exposure to entrepreneurship through educational initiatives, extracurricular activities, and mentorship opportunities can provide young people with a variety of forums to explore and develop their entrepreneurial skills, better equipping them for future business ventures.

What are some of the global challenges that can be addressed with entrepreneurial skills?

Young entrepreneurs can harness their innovative mindset to create sustainable solutions to pressing global challenges, such as climate change, poverty, and inequality.

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How do the government and educational systems support entrepreneurship in Canada?

Canada has a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem with supportive government policies that promote startup growth. The country’s robust education system and diverse talent pool also help attract foreign investors and international entrepreneurs, solidifying its position as a global hub for innovation and business development.

First Reported on: theglobeandmail.com
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Yan Krukau; Pexels; Thank you!

About The Author

April Isaacs

April Isaacs is a freelance writer and editor with over 10 years of experience. From the art scene in Paris to pastures in Montana, April has covered individuals' stories and can confirm that no two stories are the same.

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