Entrepreneurs are poised to drive the next major wave of economic growth, but the wider community must do more to support these creative-minded innovators, Ernst & Young said today when revealing this year’s finalists for Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year®.
“Businesses — and countries — don’t grow by standing still,” explains Colleen McMorrow, National and Ontario Director of Entrepreneur Of The Year. “Entrepreneurial thinking empowers companies to generate new jobs, open new doors and seize new opportunities. But stakeholders — from governments to businesses to academia — must now work together to create a truly entrepreneurial ecosystem where creative-minded businesses can thrive.”
In a new global survey of entrepreneurs — Nature or nurture? — Ernst & Young uncovered that funding, people and know-how were the biggest barriers to entrepreneurial success. Among the six out of 10 respondents who experienced obstacles in their ventures, 33% called lack of funding or finance their biggest stumbling block.
McMorrow says that’s only the first issue. Entrepreneurs need improved access to credit in addition to new educational opportunities and less red tape. She also underlined better leadership from Corporate Canada, which stands to gain by building an internal spirit of entrepreneurship — or intrapreneurship — into their business model to promote innovation, creativity and fresh thinking.
“By establishing that kind of ecosystem, we can unleash limitless entrepreneurial potential,” adds McMorrow. “Entrepreneurs see opportunity where others see disruption. Even the financial crisis generated opportunities for those willing to seize them, and that bolsters the economy. But governments and corporations must renew their focus on this area to adequately support entrepreneurs.”
In April, an Ernst & Young/Financial Post survey found more than one-third of entrepreneur respondents were more optimistic about their company’s future prospects than they were just six months ago. McMorrow says that’s a positive step in the right direction.
“Entrepreneurs have not forgotten the lessons learned in leaner times. But they’re ready to look forward, and continue building on what they’ve already accomplished. With the right support from the broader community, entrepreneurs will continue to energize the economy in the months and years ahead,” says McMorrow.
The Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards celebrate the contribution and spirit of entrepreneurs everywhere. The Canadian program is in its 18th year of honouring the country’s most impressive entrepreneurs from all areas of business. Award winners are chosen based on their vision, leadership, financial success and social responsibility.
The Ontario winners will be announced at a banquet on November 2, and the overall winner will represent the region at the national banquet held in Toronto on November 23.
The 2011 Ontario finalists for Entrepreneur Of The Year:
Business-to-business products and services
Razor Suleman - I Love Rewards – Toronto – An employee-recognition solution that helps companies drive performance. Unlike traditional service award programs, it creates authentic moments of recognition that resonate with a multigenerational workforce.
Jennifer Nashmi, Victoria Sopik - Kids and Company Ltd. – Vaughan – Offers infant, toddler, preschool, kindergarten, Montessori, and after-school child-care programs at locations across Canada. Read the rest of this entry »