According to a new report by Ernst & Young, Canada is a top country for “good quality jobs for youth.” But supporting entrepreneurship is key to realizing the potential of these jobs, the firm says.
“Fostering a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem is one of the best ways to deal with youth unemployment,” said EY’s Colleen McMorrow. “Entrepreneur-led businesses are leading when it comes to job growth. In fact, according to EY’s recent Global job creation survey, 76 percent of entrepreneurs plan to expand their workforces in 2014, compared to only 31 percent of executives at large corporations.”
While Statistics Canada’s most recent Labour Force Survey results show youth employment numbers are on the decline in this country, EY’s report uses Canada as an example of a G20 country with successful entrepreneurship schemes and policies in place to help spur entrepreneurship among youth.
“Entrepreneurship gives young people an opportunity to take initiative in creating their own employment, and to define their work so that it matches their own skills and interests,” said McMorrow. “Young people aren’t flocking to the traditional careers of previous generations – those jobs just don’t exist the way they used to. Our report outlines some ‘best practice’ policies and programs that exist in Canada to support entrepreneurship, but we need to do a better job of coordinating that support, and promoting entrepreneurship as a career choice.”
Actions to avoid a lost generation offered 10 “key recommendations” for countries to help curb youth unemployment and spur economic growth, including:
- Create funding mechanisms, either government run or government backed, that make mentorship and financial education a condition of funding.
- Create strong relationships, and provide incentives, with venture capitalists, incubators and business angels to develop or create initiatives that enable alternative sources of capital.
- Sponsor start-up growth with low-cost funding for targeted groups.
- Create a new class of loan for small businesses and young entrepreneurial firms that offer targeted funding to meet expansion capital needs.
- Encourage investment in start-ups by offering tax benefits.
- Encourage top international talent by changing visa rules and offering funding support.
- Simplify and streamline tax administration to ease administrative burdens on young entrepreneurs.
- Create a positive narrative around entrepreneurship to help engage young people from an early age.
- Encourage and foster hubs, incubators, accelerators and networks to bring relevant talent together.
- Create the foundation for a regional entrepreneurial ecosystem to flourish.
“Entrepreneurship can provide a sustainable, fertile source of job creation, drive economic growth and help establish stronger, more prosperous communities,” said McMorrow. “But we need to deliberately encourage and inspire that entrepreneurship.”