Canada is a Startup Paradise! [UPDATED]

88% of Canadians believe the country’s culture encourages entrepreneurship, according to a report released by Ernst & Young. In fact, our country’s standard of entrepreneurial culture is transforming it into a “startup paradise.”

The report, titled Entrepreneurs Speak out: A Call to Action for G20 Governments, also reveals the “five key pillars to build a successful enterprise environment.” 

1. Entrepreneurship culture

2. Education and training

3. Access to funding

4. Regulation and taxation

5. Coordinated support between public agencies

“Canada’s ideal environment and proactive frame of mind are setting the standard for entrepreneurial culture. In fact, 88% of survey respondents agree these qualities are putting the country on the map as a startup paradise,” says Colleen McMorrow, Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneurial Services Leader in Canada. “It’s imperative that countries around the world grappling with the effects of economic uncertainty follow suit and invest in their entrepreneurs.”

How does Canada achieve its status as a startup paradise? The report affirms that Canada offers young entrepreneurs low business startup costs, funding from public aid, a well-regulated banking sector, a highly educated workforce and a variety of coaching programs that go a long way in promoting entrepreneurship. Results from the research suggest that enhancing communication around entrepreneurial success stories, promoting career opportunities offered by entrepreneurship, and highlighting the role of entrepreneurs in creating new jobs are essential components to developing a strong entrepreneurial culture.

Adds Colleen, “Mentoring programs are a huge part of long-term entrepreneurial success. Eighty percent of our respondents agree that tailored support is beneficial to young entrepreneurs in Canada, and 95% believe it’s efficient — that’s the highest percentage of any mature-market G20 country.”

Weaknesses in Canada include a modest deterioration in access to funding from banks and VCs, a less mature VC market than America, and “relatively lengthy and costly enforcement contracts.” However, there are opportunities in simplifying business procedures and improving labour flexibility, the report notes, while our proximity to the U.S. enables access to the world’s largest private equity market. Still, there are threats such as a slowdown in the U.S. economy impacting Canada and volatile exchange rates potentially damaging small business exporters.

With the future in mind, 50% of VCs believe coaching programs that cultivate entrepreneurship need to be a top priority in student education.