Opinion: Entrepreneurial success is no secret: It is a skill that can be learned

Opinion: Entrepreneurial success is no secret: It is a skill that can be learned


Eric Morse is the executive director of the Morrissette Institute for Entrepreneurship, Ivey Business School. Neil McLaughlin is the head of the Royal Bank of Canada’s personal and commercial banking group.

An entrepreneur’s journey often begins without capital, team or market. But almost everyone starts their businesses with a rich supply of optimism. It is what helps entrepreneurs see their opportunity far beyond the risks, gives them confidence and the ability to stay resilient.

Leaving aside the traits, there is no predetermined ability for each individual to start and grow a business. While our schools, business community, and media are rightly celebrating their success, we must be careful not to promote or maintain ideas of so-called “business mysticism.”

The start-up phase is challenging enough without any artificial barriers that could dampen the Canadian entrepreneurial spirit – especially now that an estimated seven million Canadians are considering starting their own business. Encouraging them to join the existing 3.5 million self-employed Canadians will help create a more inclusive, sustainable and prosperous country.

Entrepreneurship is a great economic equalizer and paves the way for under-represented groups to get involved in the mainstream economy. About 40 years ago, women entrepreneurs made up just over 10 percent of all Canadian entrepreneurs; now it is one third. According to the BDC report of 2019, according to the BDC report of 2019, parity between new women and entrepreneurs could be reached by 2030.

The same study also found that business activity among newcomers was double that of the Canadian population. What’s more, they “create more net jobs and their companies grow faster” compared to the same group.

In addition, a subgroup of fast-growing entrepreneurs is helping to diversify the Canadian economy by reshaping or creating new industries. Rather, these “gazelles” export their goods and services, which in turn creates new wealth in their domestic markets. Of course, observations are rare in Canada, although the increase in clean energy exports in recent years is remarkable. A joint effort to develop an ecosystem for this business group would have a multiplier effect on future economic growth.

Today, 90 percent of private-sector workers are employed by entrepreneurs and their companies, a significant number of small and medium-sized companies that contribute more than $ 1 trillion to Canada’s GDP, along with steady revenue from public programs.

But the benefits of a vibrant business culture go far beyond the economy. The speed and unique focus of small and agile businesses are well equipped to help Canada address major societal challenges, such as accelerating our transition to a zero-net economy. Many students at Ivey certainly believe that entrepreneurship is the fastest way to develop innovative solutions to a variety of problems.

However, if our country wants to deepen its entrepreneurial culture and inspire more individuals to start their own businesses, it is essential that we find ways to engage with Canadians outside of traditional business schools.

To this end, Ivey has partnered with RBC Future Launch and The Globe and Mail to create a free, self-paced online course that helps budding Canadians gain the knowledge and confidence to build and run their own business. Through eight 20-minute modules, award-winning teachers and established entrepreneurs help participants understand key concepts such as what a good idea looks like; how to gain customers; and how to secure funding for their business development. There is also a module on setting up a social enterprise.

This course is being implemented at a critical moment. The Canadian economy saw a sharp decline in the number of “self-employed” workers during the pandemic. There is now a strong recovery – the number of new entrepreneurs in 2021 increased by more than 5.5 percent compared to 2019 – but many aspiring Canadians remain aside.

Respondents to a recent Ownr survey help explain why. Start-up costs were cited as the primary barrier for those looking to run their own business, but nearly 40 percent of respondents said they were “unsure of how to start” their business. For these and other potential entrepreneurs, turning aspirations into actions should be a national goal.

All the more so why we need to demystify the founder’s path in building a business. Peter Drucker, one of the leading management thinkers, made it clear: “It’s not magic, it’s not mysterious and it has nothing to do with genes. It’s discipline. “

And we believe that like all disciplines it can be taught. In fact, it must be taught in our schools and beyond. Because the stronger our business sector, the better Canada will be.

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