Bridging the Financial Literacy Gap

by Victoria Lennox

1 min read

In February 2013, Startup Canada and Intuit partnered together on a special event with leading experts and entrepreneurs to discuss financial literacy of entrepreneurs and approaches to bridging the financial literacy gap. Chaired by Rick Spence, Entrepreneur Columnist with the National Post, the panel also featured Jeff Cates, MD of Intuit Canada; Gary Rabbior, financial literacy expert; Julia Deans, CEO of the CYBF and Lance Laking from MaRS Discovery District.

If Canada wants to cultivate more sustainable and successful startups, everyone from elementary school math teachers to government-level business support services needs to re-think how financial literacy is being delivered and supported, experts told Startup Canada at an event earlier this month.

Hosted in partnership with Intuit Canada and other business sector leaders, Bridging the Financial Literacy Gap was inspired by a recent study by Intuit Canada that revealed 83 per cent of Canadian small business owners have a basic or lower grasp of financial fundamentals.

“Startup Canada wants to ignite action on this issue and ensure the red flags we’ve uncovered are dealt with so that entrepreneurs can acquire the financial management tools and smarts they need to not only survive, but rise above the crop,” said Adam Chowaniec, Founding Chair of Startup Canada.

Key findings from the event identify needs for:

 

  • Reduced paper burden around government regulations and improve customer service to fast-track and streamline business support services for entrepreneurs.
  • Reformed K-12 curriculums to provide opportunities to gain exposure to entrepreneurship and ‘learn by doing’.
  • Accelerated development of innovative, disruptive financial education and management technology. Make this technology available to entrepreneurs at an affordable rate and in user-friendly, digestible packages.
  • More awareness of the importance of financial literacy, especially for early-stage entrepreneurs. Catch entrepreneurs when they are in the right state of mind to consume financial knowledge and get help.
  • More entrepreneurial role models telling the story of how financial literacy is essential to startup success rates.

“Startup Canada helped get a national conversation started on this issue. Now it’s time for all stakeholders to unite in this challenge to remove the barriers and empower entrepreneurs to take more control over what ultimately is going to make or break their business,” said Chowaniec.

An in-depth recap report of the event can be found online here.

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