Scoring consistently high on nearly all categories of the entrepreneurial environment, Canada ranks among the top five countries in the EY G20 Entrepreneurship Barometer 2013, which was released today. The EY G20 Entrepreneurship Barometer 2013 introduces a model for scoring countries across the five pillars of entrepreneurship. The purpose of this model is to help identify areas of relative strength by country and where opportunities for improvement lie. The model is composed of qualitative information (from our survey of more than 1,500 entrepreneurs) and quantitative data based upon entrepreneurial conditions across the G20 economies.
“Canada has emerged as a real leader in fostering an entrepreneurial culture,” says Colleen McMorrow, EY Partner and Leader, Canadian Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Program. “There’s an emphasis on research and innovation in this country, and we value the role of entrepreneurs in job creation. Canada also offers a supportive tax and regulatory environment for entrepreneurs. All these factors are combining to really promote the growth of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship from coast to coast.”
Despite Canada’s favourable entrepreneurial ecosystem, the EY G20 Entrepreneurship Barometer 2013 finds nearly three in four (73%) Canadian entrepreneurs still struggle to access funding.
“That may be strong relative to much of the G20, but the picture is very mixed,” explains McMorrow. “The ratio of private equity activity to GDP in Canada is now higher than in any other G20 nation, except Australia. So private equity and venture capital are improving, but bank financing remains a challenge.”
However, the lending environment is improving – and more quickly in Canada than elsewhere in the G20.
“While there’s no denying access to funding remains a barrier to growth, 45% of entrepreneurs in Canada say it has improved, compared to only 35% across the G20 as a whole,” says Charles-Antoine St-Jean, EY Partner and Leader, Government & Public Sector Services. “Canada’s government has been highly supportive of entrepreneurs, providing regulatory and tax regimes that have enabled start-ups and growing companies to flourish.”
The Barometer showed a similar push-pull around education. While Canada scores high for public spending on education and the teaching of entrepreneurial skills in schools and universities, this country is below average on informal education.
“Interestingly, entrepreneurs in this country are still critical of the country’s incubators, whether public or private-sector led, and the lack of mentors available. They also have trouble accessing informal networks and mentoring services,” says St-Jean.
Despite those challenges, entrepreneurs in Canada operate in an environment that is highly supportive of their activities. McMorrow and St-Jean agree: “Entrepreneurs play a vital role in any healthy and vibrant economy. They create jobs and drive growth, and today, their contribution is more important than ever. But they need to be given the tools and environment that will enable them to succeed. The power of three: governments, entrepreneurs and corporations need to work together to foster sustainable growth.”