• Marcel Varona

The Age of Entrepreneurship in B.C.

I’ve noticed a trend recently, maybe this sounds familiar to you as well. It’s become inescapable. I’ll go on Youtube to find a how-to video and will stumble upon someone preaching the salvation of “I quit my 9-5 to be my own boss and live the life of my dreams”. Or I’ll be on my Facebook feed inevitably finding a post claiming “Success is a mindset! I went from dead broke to owning three houses. Click this link and I’ll show you how to do it!”.

With the amount of online business gurus coming up nowadays, there’s clearly a market there, and here in B.C. I myself am hearing that demand for entrepreneurial coaching loud and clear. Everywhere I go, someone is talking about their plans to quit their safe jobs to pursue a business they’re passionate about (I admit, I am one of those people). While most won’t follow through and others will do so unsuccessfully, the mentality is rampant. What is responsible for bringing this age of entrepreneurship to B.C.?

A Fertile Startup Ecosystem

In 2017, a report by the Startup Genome ranked Vancouver as the most fertile startup ecosystem in Canada and 15th in the world. The numbers speak for themselves - the B.C. Provincial Government’s 2018 Small Business Profile states that ““Since 2014, B.C. has led the country in growth in the number of small businesses. Between 2014 and 2017, the number of small businesses in B.C. climbed 7.7 per cent, more than double the national average rate of growth of 3.2 per cent.”

A Major contributor to this ranking is strong international reach, as 86 percent of all exporting out of the province went international in 2016 (as per the 2018 Small Business Profile). Further, the Startup Genome claims that Vancouver startups observe 57% of their overall customer base to be outside of their country, compared with the global average of 23%.

Additionally, Vancouver’s tech industry has exploded in recent years, “[ranking] first in the country for economic expansion over the past five years, with a 7.3-percent compound annual growth rate, double the national average” according to BC Tech Association president and CEO Jill Tipping. Professional services firm KPMG rates B.C.’s tech sector an “A for economic performance compared to other B.C. sectors—and, for the first time, versus its counterparts across the country, too”. Prominence brings opportunity. This is especially true for one of the world’s fastest moving industries in a province whose GDP is dominated by old school real estate.

Millennial Inclination Towards Entrepreneurship

According to Statista, the province of B.C is home to just over 1.8 million people under the age of 45. The 2016 Census Profile states that the average age of B.C.’s population is 42.3 years old. With the definition of Gen Z and Millennial reaching up to the age of 37 (as of 2019), mentalities and attitudes towards work that these generations carry are taking over the economy, as we touched upon in our last blog post.

Vivekananda Hallekere, the millennial co-founder and CEO of Bounce describes his generation as a “different breed of humans, who believe in knowing and exploring things on their own”. He’s not wrong, as Inc.com reports that 64 percent of millennials would rather make $40,000 a year at a job they love than $100,000 a year at a job they think is boring.

Naturally, this leads to entrepreneurship. Kauffman Foundation states that “54 percent of millennials either want to start a business or already have started one”.

Low Barriers To Entry

Of course, we can’t ignore the effect of technology and digitization. This-is-how-we’ve-always-done-it is no longer a credible statement, and products, services and even whole processes are made obsolete with a Thanos (spoiler alert?) snap of the fingers.

There’s also an ABUNDANCE of free online resources for modern entrepreneurs out there, such as those listed on https://startupstash.com/ and Lifehack. Need a formal business plan written for an investor? There’s templates for that. Need to learn to optimize your website? There’s tutorials on that. Want to start a dog walking business, but are deathly allergic to dogs? I’m sure there’s a tutorial for that somewhere out there too.

Let's take dropshipping for an example. Entrepreneur.com defines dropshipping as an arrangement where “the manufacturer or distributor--and not the business--ships the product to the business's customers“. Now I could start a retail store right now from this Inbox15b hotdesk; there’s no need for a nerve racking expenditure on a brick and mortar location or warehousing. Everyone can do it… and it seems like everyone WANTS to do it nowadays.

It truly is the age of entrepreneurship here in B.C. We’ve got a business environment full of opportunity, a workforce filled with the spirit of enterprise and not a whole lot to stop us from trying. Not everyone can pull it off, but in the sheer number of people that believe they can, there will be success stories that will shape our province for future generations. Will yours be one of them? You don’t know until you try.

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