The state of entrepreneurship is changing globally as more youth are taking self-employment options over working for established organizations. The statistics, provided in July’s Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report, are clear that this trend is significant and shows a shift in the way that youth across the world are approaching the labour market. Youth are 1.6 times as likely to want to start a business compared to people aged 34 and older. The report also revealed statistical difference for entrepreneurship rates between genders, putting young men as 1.3 times more likely to start a business and 1.6 times higher in maintaining a mature business (over 3.5 years) than young females.
Rationale for High Youth Entrepreneurship Trends
GEM’s report on youth entrepreneurship trends indicated that changes in the world economy may have caused this shift. The global financial crisis cut employment opportunities, which have slowly rebounded, however many youth still feel that finding a satisfying and financially rewarding job is difficult to achieve. The benefits of becoming an entrepreneur seem to outweigh the risks and therefore it’s worth the time and effort to start their own venture.
Still, youth face difficulties when starting their business and growing it to become successful. Only 27% of youth-run businesses employ individuals other than the owner of the company and youth are much less likely to own a mature business than adults. Young entrepreneurs must be willing to access new resources and actively expand their business to ensure their company is able to become mature and self-sustainable. To increase business maturity rates and the ability to employ others, youth entrepreneurs should access government grants and other funding vehicles to become more competitive.
Canadian Government Funding for Entrepreneurs
The federal and provincial governments issue incentives for entrepreneurs of all ages. Startups have several excellent resources available to them including incubators and regional innovation centres (RICs). Government funding is generally limited to businesses which have been incorporated for more than two years. Entrepreneurs who have mature businesses or companies approaching maturity may consider the following options as a way to grow and provide training for employees, build innovation, and begin exporting activities:
Canada-Ontario Job Grants for Small Business Training
Entrepreneurs must constantly evaluate the skills of their employees and understand what training is needed to ensure a talented, resourceful workforce. By investing in your employees, you can ensure that your business is able to adapt to a changing business environment and also drive employee engagement. The Canada-Ontario Job Grant is a provincial stream of the Canada Job Grant that provides up to 66% of training costs to a maximum of $10,000 per employee being trained. Eligible training types include college and university courses, 3rd party training, and product vendor training. Utilize this government grant funding program to increase the resourcefulness of your team.
IRAP Government Grants for Technical Innovation
Entrepreneurs must realize the need for building innovation in business. If they’re not actively solving a problem then their chances for success are fairly limited, and the business may fail before it reaches maturity. Businesses performing research and development have the best chances to excel and create solutions for problems that make other companies fail. IRAP’s Accelerated Review Process (ARP) provides up to $50,000 in Canadian funding grants for projects such as product development and process improvements. There are even research grants from IRAP specifically for collaborating with a post-secondary or third party research institution. Eligible businesses have been incorporated for a minimum of two years, maintain a staff of 1-500 employees, and are dedicated to performing internal R&D activities.
Export Manager Program for Growing SMEs Internationally
Please Note: The Export Manager Program is now closed and not accepting further applications. For trade show grants and other forms of export support, please visit our page on Business and Export Expansion Funding Programs.
Small businesses that are looking to develop their export markets should explore the Export Manager Program. Although this program is specifically for established businesses, younger businesses can still tap into hiring grants for bringing an Export Manager onboard. This Canadian small business grant allows business owners the opportunity to receive $40,000 per year ($80,000 for duration of the program) to hire an experienced Export Manager. Entrepreneurs will then have access to a larger market and be able to increase revenue from international customers. Eligible companies will have between 5-500 employees, export revenue accounting for 10%-50% of total revenue, annual sales of at least $3.5M, and be an established business within Ontario that has been incorporated for at least two years.
Additional Tools and Resources for Entrepreneurs
It’s worth noting that all of the above programs require businesses to be incorporated and established, some of which have minimum employee or revenue figures. If you are unsure if you are eligible for a program, just ask us. Another solution is to download our Startup Funding Checklist that uncovers all the top criteria that determine your eligibility for most government funding programs.