As this decade comes to an end, I wanted to talk about how far entrepreneurship has come in Canada – particularly Immigrant Entrepreneurs as the ones to watch in this new decade.

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) conducts surveys during Small Business Week every year on a variety of topics. This year, they decided to do the subject of entrepreneurship in Canada as a whole. With two surveys, they discovered a lot of interesting statistics. One of these surveys involved questioning 1025 Canadians about what skills they believed contributed to their success, while the other asked 1006 Canadians about their general perceptions of entrepreneurship.

To start, here are the latest trends amongst Immigrant Entrepreneurs 

  • The amount of entrepreneurs that are newcomers is growing at twice the rate as those who are not;
  • One quarter of all business owners are immigrants;
  • Businesses created by newcomers have a higher success rate than those created by Canadian-born entrepreneurs.

Specific statistics from the year 2018

  • 40% of Canadian businesses were started by newcomers
  • Total number of immigrant business owners was 251 600 (22% higher than in 2006)

This growing number of newcomer entrepreneurs is making Canada’s business world more diverse, as well as creating a higher number of job openings for the general public.

Entrepreneurship Challenges

As many of us most likely already know, being an entrepreneur definitely has its challenges. While one week our business could be doing really well and turning a profit, everything could be completely different the month after. Seeing as it is full of highs and lows, this lifestyle is not for everyone. If you add all of this to the original challenges we face as immigrants, the total amount of stress can be unimaginable – yet, we still do it, and we still conquer. We are risk-takers by nature and oftentimes entrepreneurship is our way of creating our own employment when our attempts to gain jobs in our original fields fail due to lack of “Canadian credentials.”

Many entrepreneurs have complained that there is also a lack of adequate resources, which can lead to roadblocks.

The statistics show that approximately one third of new businesses don’t make it through five years, while less than 50% are able to stick around over ten years. Overall, this survey shows that 75% of entrepreneurs have reported struggling with all of this.

Helpful Skills and Characteristics 

When all of the entrepreneurs were questioned, there were a few very specific skills that were listed as being important for success. Managerial skills can be extremely helpful, seeing as when you own a business, there are many tasks and people that must be coordinated.  Technical abilities can help make all of these tasks go more smoothly.

On top of these skills, there were two main personal characteristics that appeared to stand out as essential in the entrepreneurial world. Due to all of the challenges that were discussed earlier, courage and resilience will go a long way when it comes to starting a new business. These same character traits have been used when talking about immigrants, as well. It is true that coming to a whole new country, and starting our life all over again, is definitely made easier with courage and resilience.

What Is Needed?

When it comes to building a business as a newcomer, access to networks/mentors and access to financing are really important, yet, continue to be a challenge. However, according to this survey, newcomers are still opening businesses at twice the rate than those born in Canada. Imagine how much stronger Canada’s economy could be if we nurture, mentor and create newcomer-specific funding programs for immpreneurs.

As I prepare planning for the new decade, creating such networking, mentorship and funding opportunities for aspiring and current immpreneurs is exactly what I’m set to do.

To end, here are three more fun facts about entrepreneurship in Canada:

  • After a 20-year long decline in entrepreneurship, 2018 saw the biggest increase;
  • The rate of female entrepreneurs has been growing three times as fast as that of males;
  • The percentage of entrepreneurs under 35 and over 55 is growing rapidly; 80% more in young adults, and three times the amount in those over 55

Happy New Year my friends. I wish you business success, health and happiness in this new decade. And to all the aspiring and fellow Immigrant Entrepreneurs: keep up the good work – we are the ones to watch!