TORONTO, September 19, 2017 – Entrepreneurship rates in Ontario are rapidly increasing, according to new joint research released today from Ryerson University, the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship (BII+E), and the Calgary-based Centre for Innovation Studies (TheCIS). The 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Ontario Report is the most current and comprehensive understanding of the state of entrepreneurship in Ontario, as it takes into account entrepreneurs’ attitudes, motives and aspirations.
It reveals significant growth in Ontario’s entrepreneurship participation, growing from 11.7 per cent in 2013 to 14.4 per cent in 2015. When compared to similar economies, such as Canada as a whole, the U.S., Australia and Germany, Ontario fared better, while the latter three experienced declines in entrepreneurship participation.
The research also uncovers that Ontario entrepreneurs experience relative equity in the access to entrepreneurship, with the highest level of female participation (13.8 percent) rates among its peers. Furthermore, the province has a much more equal distribution of entrepreneurs across age and income groups, with a significantly higher youth entrepreneurship rate than the U.S.
“These findings are very encouraging for the state of entrepreneurship in Ontario,” said Charles Davis, report coauthor and Ryerson University professor in the Faculty of Communication and Design. “When compared with similar economies, Ontario really shines as a strong and growing innovation ecosystem. We have created both culture and policy that supports entrepreneurship, and they’re helping to drive our province’s economic performance.”
Report Key Findings
- Ontario’s entrepreneurship participation rate grew from 11.7 percent in 2013 to 14.4 percent in 2015, resulting in the highest growth amongst similar economies.
- Ontario has a female entrepreneurship participation rate of 13.8 percent—the highest among its peers.
- Ontario has a much more equal distribution of entrepreneurship participation across age groups and income levels, whereas in reference countries, participation is highly correlated with income levels.
- Job growth expectations are exceptionally high in Ontario, with 10.7 percent of provincial entrepreneurs reporting that they are currently hiring or expect to hire in the next 10 years.
- Ontario entrepreneurs are heavily concentrated in the wholesale, retail and accommodations sector, comprising a total of 26 percent of provincial entrepreneurs.
While the 2015 GEM Ontario Report provides much promising data regarding Ontario’s culture of entrepreneurship and open business environment, it also highlights several areas for improvement. Only 41.8 per cent of women report they have the knowledge and skills required to start a business, compared to 60.9 per cent of men. It also reveals that while 51.2 per cent of Ontarians surveyed believe that they have the knowledge and skills to start a business, 46.7 per cent report that the fear of failure prevents them from actually establishing a company. A downloadable infographic is also available as part of the report.