Entrepreneurs Needed – Quebec Facing Shortage

Entrepreneurs Needed – Quebec Facing Shortage

by Cynthia A Sheehan

According to many studies, the province of Quebec will soon face a shortage of entrepreneurs. As baby boomers slowly approach retirement, they will be looking to transfer their businesses to young enterprising businessmen and women. The problem is there are more businesses available than there are people willing to take them over. And recent studies predict that things will only get worse.

Even the government is worried. The Ministère du Développement économique, de l’innovation et de l’Exportation (MDEIE) just published a report on its year-long public consultation regarding a new provincial entrepreneurship strategy.  It concludes that Quebeckers create less businesses than other Canadians, that these businesses live shorter lives, and that fewer people intend to start businesses in the near future.

Why should this worry you? Well, entrepreneurial activity is the backbone of a healthy economy. Entrepreneurship creates jobs and economic value. Decreasing economic activity can only lead to economic stagnation.

Is there anything to be done? Many of the people consulted argued that one of the main problems is that entrepreneurship is just not valued enough. Don’t believe me? Just picture what your parents (or spouse, or friends…) would say if you told them you were quitting your steady job to start a business. I am sure most of you would attract frowns rather than thumbs up.

A career as an entrepreneur is not seen as that positive. And nowhere is this truer than in Québec City. “A lot of people in this city do not need to think commercially.” says one Quebec City-based entrepreneur. They argue that the city’s ample supply of well-paid, secure, benefit-laden jobs in public organizations makes it less likely for people to even consider an entrepreneurial career.

I agree, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything about it. For one, spreading the entrepreneurial word is key. As a permanent lecturer at Laval University who teaches entrepreneurship, I see young enterprising students everyday. The campus is bursting with innovative ideas and high-potential projects. We need to show these youths that starting your own business is not only an option but a path of choice for those with the ambition to succeed.

So let’s start spreading the word! I want to hear from enterprising members of the community. We are surrounded by people who take initiative and create value around them. By sharing real-life examples of success we can get more people interested in the entrepreneurial avenue.

I am open to suggestions and discussions!

Cynthia A Sheehan

Note:

For a more detailed picture of entrepreneurship in the province of Quebec, I invite you to look at these two reports (currently available in French only):

By the Fondation de l’entrepreneurship:  Indice entrepreneurial québécois 2010.

By the MDEIE: Rapport de consultation – Vers une stratégie de l’entrepreneuriat.
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Cynthia A Sheehan is an Entrepreneurship lecturer at Laval University and also one of the owners of Ross & Sheehan inc.

Categories: Business, News

About Author

Cynthia A. Sheehan

Cynthia A. Sheehan grew up in a bilingual family in Quebec City. She teaches entrepreneurship and management at FSA Laval and is working on many projects including a book on entrepreneurship and the organisation of the TEDxQuébec. You can follow Cynthia on Twitter @SheehanCyn.