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Entrepreneurial Spirit Strong with Majority of Canadians Thinking About Owning a Business: RBC Poll

Forty per cent of non-business owners demonstrating entrepreneurial behaviour

TORONTO, September 20, 2018 -  Entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Canada with more than half (54 per cent) of Canadians saying they have thought about owning their own business according to the 2018 RBC Small Business Poll. Of those who have considered owning a business, 56 per cent are already putting their entrepreneurial skills to use by making money from their passion project (28 per cent), taking on side jobs when they need money (20 per cent) and testing out a new business idea (8 per cent).

"Many Canadians are taking the entrepreneurial steps to earn money outside of their regular income, but don't necessarily view themselves as small business owners in the traditional sense. Starting a business can take on many different forms, from a casual side-hustle to a more formal, planned commitment," says Jason Storsley, Vice-President, Small Business at RBC. "Regardless of what path is right for your business, putting the appropriate disciplines in place from the start, like proper accounting and marketing practices, will allow you to focus on growing your business."

Business ownership aspirations strong across the country

Albertans lead the country when it comes to business aspirations, with 63 per cent saying they have thought about owning a business, six percentage points higher than Ontario.


Have thought of owning a business















In British Columbia, the number one reason cited as a motivation to own a business was to have control over one's career, while all other regions in Canada cited being their own boss as the top reason for wanting to own a small business.

Business owners have a secret to getting a business off the ground – prospective business owners take note

The majority of non-business owners (61 per cent) said that access to financial capital would be the number one factor that would encourage them to start a business, ahead of having a great idea (51 per cent). However, for those who already own a business, only 25 per cent said that access to financial capital was an encouraging factor, and placed far more emphasis on having a great idea (48 per cent) and understanding the fundamentals of business admin (30 per cent). Owners and non-owners agreed that attracting and retaining customers is the biggest challenge in business ownership.

Millennials feeling the drive to be 'self-made'

Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of Canadians aged 18 to 34 have thought about owning a business, and 59 per cent of millennials who don't already own a business are engaging in entrepreneurial activity to supplement their income. This includes:

  • 28 per cent who are currently finding a way to make money from a passion project or hobby; and
  • 11 per cent who are already testing an idea for a business.

A further 24 per cent say that they wish they had a side-hustle but don't know how to get started.

What would encourage more millennials to start? While access to financial capital and a great idea are two major factors, experience and connections are important for realizing their business ownership dreams. Many feel they need a better understanding of business fundamentals (49 per cent), a stronger network (45 per cent) and access to ongoing support and advice (41 per cent) before they can start a business venture.

"Equipping prospective entrepreneurs with the tools, knowledge and resources to help realize their business ownership aspirations will be key to creating a thriving economy and vibrant communities across Canada," adds Storsley.

The RBC Small Business Poll was conducted by Ipsos Canada from July 6 -15, 2018. More than 2,000 surveys were completed online by Canadian adults, represented in six different regions (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan/Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada). Representative sample results are weighted to reflect the Canadian population. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±2.5 percentage points had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population represented. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to, coverage error, and measurement error.

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For more information, please contact:
Yuri Park, RBC Corporate Communications, 437-229-3742