New Report Shows Gap in Canadian Entrepreneurial Ambition, Understanding and Support

The Canadian Entrepreneurship Initiative launched to inform and inspire entrepreneurs

OTTAWA, June 15, 2017 /CNW/ - A new report, entitled Entrepreneurship: Canada's Golden Opportunity released today by the newly formed Canadian Entrepreneurship Initiative, reveals that many barriers still exist if Canada is to reach its full potential. In a survey of 2000 Canadians, new data shows Canadian entrepreneurship is stuck in the past.

The survey results showed that the Canadian view on entrepreneurship is outdated and male dominated. When asked to identify the most famous Canadian entrepreneurs, the top Canadians cited were all men, mostly historical figures (born between 1764 and 1954) or inactive in the businesses that made their name. The survey also highlights a tendency towards risk aversion in business, and underlines how those entrepreneurs who are pushing an aggressive agenda are not being recognized for their efforts by Canadians.

To address these challenges and support Canada's work to become a global powerhouse for 21st century entrepreneurship, the Canadian Entrepreneurship Initiative launched today in Ottawa. The Initiative will focus initially on helping women. Sir Richard Branson, global entrepreneur and founder of the Virgin Group, and Canadian television personality and Clearbanc Co-Founder Michele Romanow joined Initiative Founder and Chair Ruma Bose to celebrate the launch.

The initiative has committed to several programs to support both entrepreneurial spirit and action in Canada. This includes supporting increased access to online support and capital investment for small and medium-sized businesses. It will act as a convening force to draw attention to Canada's entrepreneurial story.

"I founded this initiative because I wish this program had been there for me as I was growing up in Trois-Rivières," said Canadian Entrepreneurship Initiative Founder Ruma Bose. "I see so much incredible Canadian potential that could be unleashed if our culture was more supportive of entrepreneurship."

"I've seen through my own journey, from building companies to being a Dragon, that we need more support for entrepreneurs.  They are the rock stars that will build Canada's future and need to be celebrated," said Michele Romanow.

"As Canada celebrates its 150th birthday, it's time to realize the country's potential to become a global powerhouse of free enterprise and innovation," said Initiative supporter Sir Richard Branson.

Entrepreneurship: Canada's Golden Opportunity – Report Highlights

Full survey available at:

  • Top Global Entrepreneurs (alphabetical order)
    • Richard Branson
    • Warren Buffet
    • Henry Ford
    • Bill Gates
    • Steve Jobs
    • Elon Musk
    • Donald Trump
    • Mark Zuckerberg

  • Top Canadian Entrepreneurs (alphabetical order)
    • Alexander Graham Bell
    • Conrad Black
    • Joseph-Armand Bombardier
    • Tim Horton
    • Kevin O'Leary
    • John Molson
    • Jim Pattison
    • Rogers

  • Gap between perception and practice: 7 in 10 reported that Canada was a good place to run a business, yet only 4 in 10 aspire to start a business.
  • Lacking access to capital was the primary barrier for 8 in 10 aspiring Canadian enterprises who doubt their chances of success, followed next by fear of failure as the second most prevalent barrier.
  • Canadians were perceived to be unsupportive of risk-taking despite a generally positive outlook towards ambition. 68% of current entrepreneurs reported that teachers and mentors have not been supportive of their entrepreneurial path, and barely half felt they have been supported by previous colleagues.
  • More than two-thirds of Canadians think that this is a great country in which to start a business, and regard ambition as a good thing.
  • Women were drawn to entrepreneurship's promise to align their skills, passion and independence. Women saw entrepreneurship as opportunity to pursue their true interest, better utilize their skills and be their own boss.
  • Motivated by opportunities in retail, online. Women attribute the growth of the internet to a rise in opportunities consistent with their aspirations, while retail was selected as the category of highest interest.
  • Social good is a driver. Interestingly, 70% of existing entrepreneurs said public good was an important driver of their interest in entrepreneurship.

Canadian Entrepreneurship Initiative – Inaugural Amplify Program Highlights

In response to its findings, the Canadian Entrepreneurship Initiative will launch "Amplify": a program to support and uplift Canadian entrepreneurs, with a primary focus on women-lead small and medium enterprises. We believe these entrepreneurs' efforts will collectively bring us into a much-needed new era of Canadian entrepreneurship. In collaboration with our partners, the Initiative has committed to the following:

  1. A campaign to Change the Face(s) of Canadian Entrepreneurship.  More entrepreneurs need to identify with the entrepreneurial path. Our failure to recognize and uplift our fellow Canadian entrepreneurs is the single largest tragedy of our national entrepreneurial ecosystem. We have an incredibly diverse set of contemporary entrepreneurs in Canada, and yet our entrepreneurial self-image is dated and male dominated. Nominations for 100 fresh faces of Canadian Entrepreneurship opened June 13th.
  2. Tell her story. Stories of rising female Canadian entrepreneurs will be featured from the campaign in partnership with, to celebrate their successes (and failures) and raise the profile of female entrepreneurs from coast to coast.
  3. Make online expansion easier. Over 40,000 retail businesses in Canada still do not have a platform for e-commerce. As such, we will be ensuring access to the tools and resources required to participate in the new business realities of an internet-connected world. Two hundred women-led SMEs will be provided access to an annual subscription to Shopify's platform and complementing masterclasses from Virgin Startup.
  4. Provide Entrepreneur-friendly financing. Despite there being a relatively large amount of capital for investment in Canada, many aspiring entrepreneurs see access to startup funds as a primary barrier to their success. Through our partnership with Clearbanc, we will provide a simple, direct path to financing, with preferential terms for existing women-led small businesses looking to grow.
  5. Partner with and support leading organizations. If we are to create a more supportive culture for entrepreneurship in Canada, we must all work together. As such, we are committed to learning from and partnering with an incredible set of organizations that drive the entrepreneurship agenda across Canada.

For more information please visit

About the Co-Founder and Chair: Ruma Bose is a serial entrepreneur, international best-selling author and former President of Chobani Foundation and Chobani Ventures. She is a member of the Global Entrepreneurs Council at the UN Foundation and is a member of the Expert Network at the World Economic Forum. She is a frequent speaker on entrepreneurship, sits on several boards and mentors entrepreneurs in Canada and around the world. Ruma grew up in Trois-Rivières, Québec and received her MBA from the Rowe School of Business at Dalhousie University.

SOURCE Canadian Entrepreneurship Initiative

For further information: Media contact: Sophie Nadeau, Edelman Canada,, 416-910-0850.

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