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What do Canadians think of entrepreneurs?

Canadians think entrepreneurs are brave, courageous and hardworking

4-minute read

To celebrate BDC Small Business Week™ 2019, we asked over 1,000 Canadians to tells us what they think of entrepreneurs.

The results show that Canadians have a very positive view of business owners. In total, 76% of respondents had a positive opinion of entrepreneurs. Only one out of ten Canadians had a negative opinion of entrepreneurs, while 13% remained neutral.

Further, when they were asked to describe Canadian entrepreneurs in one word, respondents said entrepreneurs are brave, courageous, hardworking and innovative, to name a few key characteristics (Figure 1).

Figure 1—Canadians think entrepreneurs are brave, courageous and hardworking

Canadians think entrepreneurs are brave, courageous and hardworking

Source: BDC, Survey on the perception of Canadian entrepreneurs (Montreal: BDC, March 2019) Base: All respondentsy (n=1,006)

Passionate role models

Almost half of respondents strongly agreed that entrepreneurs are passionate individuals who create wealth and jobs for the community and contribute to economic development (Figure 2). Also, many Canadians consider entrepreneurs as role models for the community, and a good proportion respect businesspeople that have suffered a setback.

Older Canadians are more likely to perceive entrepreneurs as hard workers and generous individuals that are important for the economic development of the country. Meanwhile, Quebecers are less likely to believe entrepreneurs can earn a good income by starting their business.

To what extent do you agree with the following statements on entrepreneurship? % that agree
Entrepreneurship is important for the Canadian economic development 88.9
Entrepreneurs are passionate about their work 88.8
People who succeed in building their own business are role models for the community 83.9
Entrepreneurs are creators of jobs and wealth 82.2
Entrepreneurs who have suffered a setback in their business have my respect 78.0
It is possible to earn a good income by starting your own business 76.0
Entrepreneurship is a desirable career choice 72.4
Canada is a great place to start a business 72.1
Entrepreneurs give back to the community (investment of time, money, mentoring, etc.) 68.8
Entrepreneurs generally have to work at least 70 hours a week to have success 60.9
Canadian culture promotes entrepreneurship 60.2

Entrepreneurship is not without its challenges

Canadians said that financial insecurity, stress and long working hours are among the main disadvantage of being an entrepreneur. Self-employed respondents in our survey were more likely to say that the lack of benefits is the main disadvantage of being an entrepreneur.

Meanwhile, Canadian said the top benefits of running a business is the pursuit of one’s passion, followed by being your own boss and self-fulfillment. For self-employed respondents, flexibility was the highest benefits. Again, senior citizens were more likely to see the positive contribution to society.

Perceptions of entrepreneurshiphip

A quarter of Canadians are interested in starting their own business

Many Canadians would like to start their own business. 10% intend to start a business in the next two years, and 14% would like to start one, but doubt it will happen in the next two years.

Close to half of students (47%) dream of starting their own business. Men, Western Canadians, younger Canadian (18-34 years old) and full-time workers were also more likely to say they would like to start their own business.

1 in 4 canadians is interested in starting a business

Join us for BDC Small Business Week 2019 as we celebrate Canadian entrepreneurs and explore the key factors driving their growth.

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