Fostering Canadian Entrepreneurship
Employment Opportunities A recent report conducted by Ernst & Young found Canada to be one of the top five G20 nations for fostering entrepreneurship.
The 2013 Entrepreneurship Barometer Report, which studied the climate for start-ups in all of the bloc nations, commented that Canada’s low tax burden, negligible insolvency rates and low labour and start-up costs have created an ideal environment for up and coming entrepreneurs.
Rich talent pool
“One of the benefits of Canada is that we attract such incredible talent from all around the world,” says Tonya Surman, the Founder of the Centre for Social Innovation. “We have diversity and richness, and with that comes links and relationships across the world.”
Surman also believes that the meritocratic nature of Canada’s economy helps to foster inclusivity and entrepreneurial possibility for people from any social background.
“We don’t have the same class system that limits people in other parts of the world,” says Surman. “The lack of barriers here in Canada allows people to actualize their true potential.”
“The lack of barriers here in Canada allows people to actualize their true potential.”
No time for complacency
Although, Canadians aren’t resting on their laurels, there’s definitely room for improvement.
Julia Deans, CEO of the Canadian Youth Business Foundation thinks that Canadian entrepreneurialism is a work in progress. “We’ve put a lot of the building blocks in place, but they’re not all connected and they’re certainly not available to everyone in the country,” she says.
Deans believes that building a deeper culture of entrepreneurialism will be a positive for Canadians, and that the ingrained national skepticism towards entrepreneurship is slowly starting to fade away.
“There are still people that are fearful of the word, but generally Canadians are getting more comfortable with it,” she explains. “In a climate nowadays where few people will have jobs for life, we need to be able to turn our hands to different things and be able to create our own opportunities.”
“In a climate nowadays where few people will have jobs for life, we need to be able to turn our hands to different things and be able to create our own opportunities.”
Coordinated entrepreneurial support, in the form of incubator and accelerator programs, is an effective way of providing entrepreneurs with the space, networks and funding that they need to get their businesses off of the ground.
“Accelerators have been a really interesting development in Canada over the past five years,” explained Victoria Lennox, who is the Co-Founder and CEO at Startup Canada.
“Accelerators like Founderfuel in Montreal and the Launch Academy in Vancouver are starting to have some real successes, and that helps to breed even more success.”
Although, there is a disparity in the location of these resources. Southern Ontario has plenty of accelerators and incubators up and running, while Saskatchewan has virtually none.
“We need to ensure easy access to these great resources,” explains Deans. “We need to connect them so that entrepreneurs all over the country get the benefits.”
“Mentors help to send the ladder back to the next generation, lift them up and accelerate their growth."
Canada’s shift towards a more entrepreneurial working culture is being reflected in school curriculums, college courses and university modules. There’s a growing realization that, in our modern economy, academic qualifications don’t necessarily guarantee a job for life — or even a job at all.
Mentorships are another great way of informing and inspiring Canadian entrepreneurs of the future. “Mentors help to send the ladder back to the next generation, lift them up and accelerate their growth,” said Lennox. “The more that we can connect industry mentors and entrepreneurs to universities and colleges, the better.”
Chris Eben, founder of Startup Weekend Toronto, thinks that now is a great time to be starting a business in Canada. “The resources are here now,” he said. “There’s a great talent pool in Canada and that’s a huge advantage.”
Although, prospective start-ups gain a realistic understanding of what being an entrepreneur entails. “You have to be willing to throw yourself completely into it,” he said. “But, in saying that, it’s extremely satisfying when you do start to get some success.”