Are Millennial Entrepreneurs the Real Deal?

by Greg DePersio

2 min read

Born between the years 1980 and 2000, Canadian millennials are predicted to occupy three-fourths of the workforce by 2028. Millennials are decades from their forties to early fifties, which are generally seen as the peak age for entrepreneurship, yet are already driving forces within the Canadian small business community. So far, Canadian millennials are proving themselves to be apt in commanding more profitable companies and managing bigger staffs than preceding generations.

Larger Startups with Greater Profits

Almost 60% of Canadian millennial entrepreneurs in a study conducted within the 2016 BNP Paribas Global Entrepreneur Report anticipate profit growth over the next year, compared to just 42% of baby boomers. Furthermore, millennials in business enjoy larger gross profit margins with a mean of 30%.

On average, millennial entrepreneurs in Canada employ staffs four times larger than the average baby boomer’s staff. The reason for this is that the younger generation is more inclined to head a startup in retail, ecommerce, and technology — industries which generally call for a bigger staff, compared to the preferred industries of consulting, accounting, and legal services of baby boomers.

Starting More Businesses at a Younger Age

The mean number of businesses started by millennials in Canada is nearly eight, compared to three and a half for baby boomers. Accounting for the fact that the baby boomer generation is close to the end of their careers as entrepreneurs while millennials are only beginning theirs, this contrast is even more extraordinary. Compared to boomers, millennial entrepreneurs in Canada are starting their small businesses four years earlier, on average. Experts attribute this difference to changes in technology which have made forming a startup easier and more affordable than ever, as well as making it much more practical to start a company at a younger age.

Most Educated Generation Ever

Canada’s high youth unemployment rate — at 13% as of October 2016 — is nearly double the national mean unemployment rate of 6.8%. As a result, more young Canadians are pursuing graduate degrees or doctoral degrees to gain a competitive advantage over less-skilled members of the workforce. Due to this pattern, millennials pose to significantly benefit the economy once they acquire gainful employment as the most educated generation ever.

Ambitious Risk-Takers Seeking Change

Only 13% of millennials report having life goals which involve climbing the corporate ladder, compared to two-thirds who say that their life goals incorporate creating and running their own business. Consequently, 16% of millennials wish to begin their startups in the next year, compared to 8% of the rest of the Canadian population. The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce’s Deputy Chief Economist Benjamin Tal estimates that approximately 150,000 new small businesses will be launched within Canadian borders over the next ten years. This would have a considerably positive impact on the country’s economy, likely boosting small businesses current 50% share of the private sector workforce.

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