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BDC study shows more immigrants are starting businesses in Canada

Immigrants more likely to start a business and create jobs than those born in Canada

The entrepreneurial landscape in Canada is growing increasingly diverse thanks to immigrants, a new study by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) shows.

Newcomers to Canada are more likely to start a business that grows more quickly and creates more net jobs per enterprise than the Canadian-born population, according to the study.

The BDC says the entrepreneurial rate among newcomers is more than double the rate for people born in Canada, meaning immigrants are twice as likely to take steps to bring an entrepreneurial project to life.

This could be looking into starting a business or acquiring a business, or equipment— anything that could get a business off the ground.

In 2018 the number of newcomer entrepreneurs grew to 251,600, a 22 per cent increase since 2006.

With immigrants expected to account for up to 80 per cent of Canada’s population growth by 2032, BDC projects this trend will continue to fuel entrepreneurship in Canada over the next decades.

“As Canada becomes increasingly diverse, its entrepreneur class will follow suit,” BDC writes.

Along with immigrants, more women, Millenials and older Canadians are also embarking on entrepreneurial pursuits.

Stressful but rewarding

BDC looked at job satisfaction for entrepreneurs and found that while running a business is highly stressful, entrepreneurs often report feeling professionally satisfied.

About 90 per cent of entrepreneurs said they were professionally satisfied. Overall, they enjoy managing their business, they are motivated to work every day, and they feel satisfied with their business progress.

Entrepreneurs also report being motivated by more than just money. Independence, autonomy, flexibility, as well as passion and self-fulfillment, were the top motivators driving entrepreneurship.

The road to owning a successful business is not easy, however. Three-quarters of the entrepreneurs surveyed said they had to deal with financial insecurity, overwhelming stress, and lack of benefits compared to those employed by a company.

Roughly a third of new businesses go under within five years, and less than half are still open after ten years.

However, there are certain acquirable skillsets that contribute to entrepreneurial success and satisfaction.

Managerial skills, technical skills and grit

Goal-oriented people who prove resilient when faced with failure and setbacks, and who do not get discouraged in the face of adversity, are more likely to succeed as entrepreneurs.

Much work has been done studying the relationship between entrepreneurship and grit, with overwhelmingly positive findings.

“Grit” describes the passion and perseverance that people exhibit in pursuing long term goals. The BDC study refers to the work of Angela Lee Duckworth, who started out observing what traits kept first-year cadets from dropping out of the military.

Her research found that grit grows with age, but did not conclude if it was innate or learned.

“Whether or not grit can be learned, one thing is certain: Entrepreneurs need a good dose of courage and hard work to start a business,” BDC wrote in the study. “If courage cannot be learned, the skills necessary to grow a business can.”

BDC found there is a strong link between an entrepreneur’s level of satisfaction and their level of managerial and technical skills.

The technical skills BDC assessed included:

  • Financial management
  • Sales and marketing
  • Human resources management
  • Operations management
  • Strategic planning

They grouped the 11 managerial skills studied into the following four categories:

  • Organizational management
  • Leadership and people management
  • Innovation
  • Networking

Managerial skills in innovation and networking positively influenced sales growth. Innovation and organizational management skills significantly increased entrepreneurial satisfaction.

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