Canadians are building a new generation of startups

Canadians are building a new generation of startups

No one disputes the value and inventiveness Canadian small businesses bring to the broader economy. But with a possible recession on the horizon, some may wonder if small business owners are able to overcome what obstacles lay ahead.

Available Statistics Canada data shows of the 1.2 million employer businesses in Canada, 97.9% are small businesses employing more than 16 million people. Notably, micro-enterprises (companies with one to four employees) make up 55.3%. By adding organizations with five to nine employees, the number increases to 74.1%. That speaks to the strength of the entrepreneurial spirit that thrives in our country, not to mention the vital contributions these companies make to our economy.

But the year ahead poses many significant challenges for small business owners. Inflation remains stubbornly high, and the Bank of Canada raised its benchmark rate to 4.25% in November. With the threat of consumer demand for goods and services dipping amidst these unpleasantries, understandable concerns abound.

Connecting with as many small businesses as we do, we are close to the ever-changing complexities they face. Although more could be done to help the community prosper, we take the feedback we get and do what we can to alleviate some of the pain points facing today’s entrepreneurs.

Moreover, last July, we surveyed small business owners and found 60% were confident they would be successful in the second half of 2022 despite the pandemic’s negative impact on their revenues. Canada’s record-high inflation was at an eye-watering 8.1% at the time.

It was inspiring to see the majority of small business owners so confident when looking ahead, and it speaks to their resiliency. It’s precisely that same dogged determination Canadians have shown time, and again that will empower business owners to weather these challenges and inspire others to be bold, and fearless, and launch new startups.

I’m reminded of an influential thinker on business management and leadership, Peter Drucker, who once said, “the best way to predict the future is to create it.” It’s a perspective many of us share, and as Canadian small business owners have demonstrated, it’s the way forward.


Danish Yusuf

Founder and CEO of Zensurance

Danish Yusuf is the Founder and CEO of Zensurance. He is a former leader in McKinsey & Company’s digital insurance practice supporting insurance clients globally on defining their digital strategies. Before McKinsey, Danish was a software architect and developer at IBM Canada, covering everything from mainframe development to web development. Danish earned a bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering from the University of Toronto and has an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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