Despite the pandemic’s impact on the economy, Canadians’ business aspirations have hit a four-year high, according to the most recent RBC Small Business Poll, with more than half (55%) of Canadians polled saying they have thought about owning a business.
Released today, study findings also revealed that among the business owners who were polled, nearly a quarter (24%) said they started their business during the pandemic.
“Canadian entrepreneurs have faced a myriad of challenges over the last 15 months, and it’s made for some devastating headlines, but we’re also hearing countless stories of entrepreneurs who are finding ways to turn these challenges into new opportunities for growth and change,” said Don Ludlow, vice president of small business, partnerships and strategy at RBC.
“The entrepreneurial spirit is stronger than ever, and business ownership is increasingly being seen as a viable career path for many Canadians in light of the opportunities created by the pandemic. As the economy re-opens, their success will be critical in driving job creation and employment, and accelerating our economic recovery and growth.”
Regionally, entrepreneurial aspirations were highest in Ontario (63%), Alberta (62%) and British Columbia (59%).
“Seven-in-10 (69%) aspiring entrepreneurs – those who have thought about owning a business but have yet to own one – perceive business ownership as an option that offers more control over their career than traditional employment.” RBC said in a release.
“Perhaps it is this sense of control that has led four-in-10 (41%) aspiring entrepreneurs to say the pandemic has made them more likely to want to start a business.”
Findings showed that Canadians overall remain hopeful about the prospect of entrepreneurship, with more than half (58%) polled agreeing that COVID-19 has created new opportunities for small businesses.
RBC said this could be attributed to the fact that “one-third of Canadians (33%) surveyed witnessed new businesses starting up during the pandemic, particularly among millennials
“Public support for small business has grown stronger compared to last year with 84% of respondents saying that they are choosing to buy from small businesses in their community whether in person or online. This support is especially strong in Atlantic Canada with 90% of respondents.”
(It) has been critical to help keep businesses afloat during the most challenging phases of this prolonged pandemic, and will continue to be a significant lifeline for businesses as the economy begins reopening across the country, the bank said.
The survey was conducted by Ipsos Canada from April 16-19 with upwards of 2,000+ surveys being completed online by Canadian adults from six different regions: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan/Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada.