At Futurpreneur Canada, we often get asked why we focus on helping aspiring young entrepreneurs to start businesses. Isn’t it safer for young people to go to school and then find stable, high-paying jobs?
Unfortunately, we’re in a different time where youth unemployment is twice that of the national average, and many young people lucky enough to have a job find themselves underemployed and lacking opportunities to grow. At the same time, our economy depends on entrepreneurship. About 70% of all jobs in Canada come from small businesses, yet nearly half of all Canadian business owners will retire within the next decade. Youth entrepreneurship helps to keep these businesses – and the jobs they support – alive, while creating meaningful employment opportunities for young Canadians.
Many of the young entrepreneurs we’ve supported over the years have found themselves starting a business because the opportunities available to them just weren’t meeting their needs.
Samantha Chan for example, left her corporate job in banking behind her as she felt that her position in the corporate world wasn’t allowing her to be the creative person that she was. In 2010 she opened her first Paintlounge, a social painting space in Toronto, and since then has grown her business into three locations. “In a corporate setting, a job can be split into many parts and you only get exposure to a small part of the big picture,” Samantha shared about her former career. “I was working extremely long hours in investment banking but a lot of times, the job really seemed meaningless to me.”
Kristin Poch of Beatnik Bus in Alberta was one of those young people who was having difficulty finding employment upon graduation. Despite her laundry list of impressive job experiences she acquired during university, her desire to avoid working in the oil and gas industry in Alberta limited her options for a career. “Countless resumes and a few interviews lead to nothing,” Kristin shared her frustration. After many interviews and applications, feeling discouraged, Kristin started to think about what her ideal position would be, and organically the pieces fell together for Beatnik Bus, a mobile record store.
Entrepreneurship isn’t always the easy choice for many people, and often times it isn’t a career option that young people consider upon entering the work force. But entrepreneurship is a career option that solves the problem of unemployment and allows for the Canadian economy and workforce to thrive. Alex Ethans of Eph Apparel explained to us that the reason he left his sales job to start his own business was because he strived for more. “I had a desire to drive change and growth, and be a leader in something that I was passionate about,” he explained. “I also had an equal desire to have my hard work produce results for myself and my partners.”
Many things have been said about the Millennial generation’s work ethic and expectations in the workplace, but one thing that rarely gets talked about is their entrepreneurial spirit. We see young people every day who have dreams and know they can’t count on success to come to them – so they’re actively seeking it out for themselves.
Visit Futurpreneur.ca to learn more about starting a business.
Lauren Marinigh is the Social Media & Content Coordinator at Futurpreneur Canada
Generation Squeeze is committed to giving you the best information and resources to help you adapt to the squeeze, while simultaneously lobbying our governments to follow suit.