Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Perhaps you’ve never even considered it, but it’s a question worth asking yourself. All it really takes is an idea—some of history’s greatest success stories started with one person and one idea. Think Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates or Henry Ford: all were once ordinary young people who happened to have a revolutionary idea. Those ideas set them on the courses in life that made them household names today. If you’re young, creative and educated, the conditions are there for you to one day rank among them in the history books.
An entrepreneur is defined as a person who organizes and/or manages an enterprise or business, often with a strong element of initiative and risk. Young people today, particularly young Canadians, are among the brightest and best-equipped cohorts of future entrepreneurs that have ever existed. Our unique situation, our backgrounds, educations and innovate mindsets, all coalesce to make us a veritable fountain of potential ideas. Here in Canada, we’re lucky to have a wide range of factors contributing to our prospective success, from booming industries to solid economic conditions, all with a wide array of support options and other elements to help get our ideas off the ground.
It’s no secret that Canada’s economic powers are shifting west (particularly toward the resource-rich Alberta), and such surging centres of finance and industry are a prime environment for a creative, young graduate. The fuel and energy industries are driving economic growth, and with them, an entire array of opportunities is growing. Those industries are a hotbed of exciting, new companies, and they all need fresh ideas to help streamline their operations, increase efficiency and access newly discovered resources.
At the same time, the exploitation of natural resources has a vast number of social and environmental implications—areas where imaginative solutions are just as needed. As we work to mitigate the possible problems that arise, there’s massive wealth and success waiting for the people that can create and propose those solutions. Environmental protection and remediation, ecosystem management, the social and media factors of presenting situations to the public: as the economy grows, prosperity in a variety of fields such as these will present itself.
Even the struggling eastern parts of the country boast huge opportunity for potential young entrepreneurs. Ontario, with its large, relatively young and well-educated population, has been hurting for jobs. More than ever, the province needs an influx of innovative and unique ideas to help shift it away from a declining manufacturing-based economy to a more technological, knowledge-based economic model. Technical and administrative skills, strong understanding of technology and science, and the ability to manage people are needed to help new businesses get off the ground, and the young and educated are well positioned to lead this incipient change.
The prospect of trying to turn your ideas into reality, let alone profit, can seem daunting, but it’s certainly not impossible. Take a look at the Maclean’s list of young Canadians to watch: all are under 25, successful and leading revolutions in their fields. People like Ted Livingston, Eden Full and Marshall Zhang are spearheading their own private tech firms, exploiting their brilliant minds to innovate in the broad fields of energy science, social media and medicine. Further, there are increasing levels of support from both private and public sources, and the need for young entrepreneurship to sustain a changing economy is increasingly apparent. As Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism Maxime Bernier stated “…entrepreneurs can transform this country”. Private initiatives like the FuEL awards encourage entrepreneurship among Canadians under 30. Now in their second year, the awards see large firms like KPMG investing to encourage young people to put their ideas to practical, tangible uses.
In the end, if you’re intelligent, driven, young and talented, you already have what it takes to succeed. All you need is the determination to see your idea through, the tenacity and flexibility to interact with others to promote yourself, and most of all, a willingness to take a risk. There’s never been a better time for us to take a leap and try and make something ourselves. What are you waiting for?