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Economy and entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship: What's stopping us from taking the leap?

November 7, 2022

While Quebec boasts a number of extraordinary businesses, interest in entrepreneurship appears to be lower than elsewhere in Canada. In other words, there aren't enough entrepreneurs. The province's population is aging and there's nobody to pass the torch to—2 key issues when it comes to the survival of Quebec businesses. But it just so happens that 30% of young people dream of starting their own business.

A text by Audrey Pigeon, youth reporter for Desjardins

And that's what really struck me when I sat in on a discussion between young business owners and Guy Cormier, President and CEO of Desjardins Group. While the next generation of entrepreneurs may have some obstacles to overcome, there are definitely things we can do to encourage them.

In the 2021 Indice entrepreneurial québécois, an index of Quebec entrepreneurs, the Réseau Mentorat published encouraging results on 18 to 34-year-olds who aspired to a future in business. 3 out of 10 young people showed interest in becoming entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, however, few will actually follow through. Why?

Failure shouldn't be taboo

We all know someone who dreams of having their own little café, shop or yoga studio but who never actually takes the plunge ...

"We can't let fear of failure stop us from trying new things," asserted Louis-Félix Binette, an entrepreneur who took part in the discussion and who is also the executive director and founding member of the Mouvement des accélérateurs d'innovation du Québec, a network of Quebec business accelerators and innovators.

According to him, fear of failure is common in Quebec. But, as many seasoned entrepreneurs will tell you, in business you're likely to experience failure at some point, and that's normal.

During the event, Louis-Félix told us about F- - kup Nights External link. This link will open in a new window., a movement that's active in 60 countries, including Canada, and that works with organizations like Google. Its mission: To reduce or even eliminate this unhealthy fear of failure. Sounds like something we could all use!

Because starting a business is intimidating. And all too often, we decide it's better to give up than to screw up. At least, that's what I tell myself when I think about running my own bed and breakfast. But it shouldn't be that way!

"Being an entrepreneur may not be easy, but it's definitely exhilarating," Guy Cormier stated during the discussion.

Mr. Cormier's words certainly strike a chord with our inner entrepreneur! Have you ever heard the saying, Nothing ventured, nothing gained? It's time to put it to the test! In business, you have to take risks. The good news is there are resources available to help you find your way through the administrative maze.

Find out about the services offered at your school or in your area. There are committees and organizations, like the Chambre de commerce et de l'industrie. Some of them even have youth branches.

Quebec has more of these types of organizations than most places worldwide. You may find this interactive map External link. This link will open in a new window. from the Mouvement des accelerators d'innovation du Québec helpful. It shows all the key players that support startups. Take a look and see if there are any in your area!

And don't forget, Desjardins supports young entrepreneurs, too. The organization even considers youth a priority!

Young entrepreneurs: A rare commodity

Another way to start a business is through entrepreneurial acquisition, which essentially means taking over an existing business and capitalizing on its employees and its reputation. Within the next 2 years, there will be around 37,000 businesses available to take over in Quebec (so there are plenty to choose from!). It's just one more indication of how crucial the next generation of entrepreneurs is. Can we count on you?

Since the pandemic, the number of business owners under age 35 has increased from 14% to 19%. That's pretty encouraging!

If you're ever interested in attending a conference External link. This link will open in a new window. like the one I went to, it's a great place to start networking. (Note: Conference link is in French only.)

Audrey Pigeon is a youth reporter at Desjardins. Her role is to create original content that covers social issues from a youth perspective.