Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, young people are drawn to starting a business. While the timing may seem curious to some, there are several reasons why young entrepreneurs feel now is a good time to strike out on their own.
Why start a business now?
In a recent conversation, Scott Bowman, Vice President of Ontario, Prairies and Northern Canada at Futurpreneur Canada, shared some ideas as to why some Canadians under 40 are scratching their entrepreneurial itch. Futurpreneur Canada is a national not-for-profit that provides free resources to help entrepreneurs 18 – 39 launch a business. Offering business and cash flow planning support, skill building, access to mentors as well as up to $60,000 in unsecured loans, the organization is highly connected to the goals, ideas and challenges facing young Canadians today.
Here are some of the factors motivating today’s young entrepreneurs:
It’s an opportunity to take control of their lives. Whether facing job loss or income instability, starting a business lets them take matters into their own hands.
It’s a way to create a positive impact. “Young people are keen to help others live better lives,” explains Bowman. “They want to create jobs locally, they want to protect the planet, lift up local suppliers, give back to communities and create positive economic impact.” By starting their own businesses, they can make the kind of difference they feel compelled to make.
There is opportunity out there. Bowman explains that young people see where they can step in to fill gaps in today’s changing world. Beyond that, they are optimistic about the future. “They see where there are potential opportunities and feel confident that people will spend money again.”
There’s a long runway ahead. With time on their side, many young people are more risk tolerant and less afraid of failure than some of their older counterparts. “They’re coming to understand more and more that if things don’t work out the first time they have time to try something different,” explains Bowman.
Pivoting is in their DNA. Having grown up as digital natives, young entrepreneurs easily adopt new technology and trends. This makes them flexible, adaptable and ready to pivot.
Thinking of starting a business today? Here are some things to consider.
There is always a lot to think about when starting a business. Given today’s unusual environment – with constantly changing rules around shopping and gathering – an extra layer of planning, preparation and resilience is recommended if you’re looking to get started during these unsettled times.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Be prepared for the unexpected. Change is inevitable!
- Plan for short-, medium- and long-term impacts to your business. There continues a great deal of unknown around the effects of COVID-19 on our way of life. Scenario planning can help you anticipate various future scenarios and have a plan in place to address them.
- Be flexible around what you launch and when. “You may not be able to launch your full vision when you want to, but maybe you can launch part of it now, the full plan six months later,” advises Bowman. You may also need to start out regionally, or online only. A partial kick-off shouldn’t mean you can’t fully launch down the road.
- Put your plan in writing. “If it’s not in writing, it isn’t,” says Bowman, who advises that every new entrepreneur should get their business plan down on paper.
- Get support. There are several programs available to young, aspiring entrepreneurs. Futurpreneur Canada is just one organization that is dedicated to supporting young people through the early stages of their ventures. In Canada, the power and potential of youth is recognized across industry and government – it’s worth seeking out programs, grants, networks and organizations that are ready to help you succeed.
Young people have the courage, resilience, passion and drive to carve a new and inspiring path – not just for themselves, but for the communities they aspire to do business in. With energized youth ready to spot the silver linings and generate opportunity, an uncertain future can also be an exciting one.
Thinking about starting your own business? Discover Five Reasons Entrepreneurship is a Great Path for Young Canadians
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