Why are millennial, Gen Z Canadians becoming entrepreneurs?

More than ever, Canadian customers are craving local goods and services over larger companies. So-called “micro-entrepreneurs” are filling the gap, a new survey has found

With the cost of living rising and inflation rising in Canada, younger Millennials and Gen Zs are looking for new sources of income as “micro-entrepreneurs,” a new survey has found.

The RBC Small Business survey found that “74 percent of Canadian small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs are motivated by the rising cost of living to start a small business or side hustle.” For Gen Z respondents, that percentage jumps to 84 percent.

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A large majority of millennial entrepreneurs surveyed in the study said their primary goal in starting a business was to create an income stream to support themselves.

“This year’s survey showed that the desire for entrepreneurship in Canada remains strong, particularly among younger generations, and unsurprisingly it is being driven by the challenging current economic conditions,” said Don Ludlow, vice president of Small Business , Partnerships & Strategy at RBC Royal Bank.

“Many Canadians in particular are motivated to start micro businesses — very small businesses or side hustles — to quickly meet evolving consumer needs in a rapidly evolving marketplace and to take control of their financial future during these uncertain times.”

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Factors of a growing economy of microentrepreneurship

According to the survey, technology is playing a major role in the emergence of a micro-entrepreneurial economy across the country.

Nearly half of respondents indicated that new technologies have enabled them to diversify their market audience and find creative ways of doing business.

Another 47 percent said the ability to run their business remotely has reduced the costs traditionally associated with running a business.

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Finally, 42 percent of the surveyed entrepreneurs stated that digital solutions have reduced the need for administrators.

More importantly, Canadians are interested in authentic, local goods and services. The survey found that 71 percent of respondents said they would be more likely to support businesses with an active presence in their local community.

The survey finds that a strong majority agree that small businesses are able to offer products and services tailored to local needs.

Almost three quarters of respondents believe that small companies can innovate faster than larger companies.

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