Why youth entrepreneurship is key to our country’s future

Reflecting on the past 150 years of Canada’s successes and failures naturally leads to thoughts of its future. We’ve come so very far economically, technologically and socially in such a short time – and all in no small part to the enterprising nature and hard work of determined and resilient Canadians. It’s that very spirit of entrepreneurialism we’ll need to nurture and cultivate as we move into the next 150 years.

As technology continues to progress, many economic futurists are predicting that developments in artificial intelligence will make jobs in numerous sectors increasingly obsolete. Conversely, technological advances will create some roles that don’t even yet exist. Futhermore, a shift away from a manufacture-based economy to service and knowledge economies means a bigger emphasis on soft skills, like critical and creative thinking, problem solving, and negotiation and organization skills.

Considering such drastically changing roles and economic shifts, how can we equip the youth of today with the skills of tomorrow?

Jeunes entrepreneurs

Cultivating an innovative mindset

A report from the World Economic Forum, “The Future of Jobs: Employment, Skills and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” cites that as much as 65% of children entering primary school today will work in roles that don’t currently exist.

Presenting youth with myriad opportunities to explore entrepreneurship is one way to prepare them for an uncertain future. An entrepreneurial skill set includes creativity, an ability to troubleshoot, collaborate, and quickly adapt or ‘pivot’.

Being an entrepreneur means being adept at thinking on your feet, planning for a variety of potential outcomes, and cultivating an innovative mindset. It requires one to approach problems and new situations with curiosity, an open mind, and a can-do attitude.

In short, being an entrepreneur means you are prepared for anything – and if ‘anything’ is synonymous with uncertainty, then adjusting to the future will be easy.

Entrepreneurial skills for better employees

Even if an individual decides not to pursue a business owner lifestyle, a foundational set of entrepreneurial skills can make them better employees. If youth are exposed to entrepreneurial values and skills early on they carry these lessons into their first work opportunities. These formative experiences will not only shape their impressions and opinions about their ability to contribute to society, but will help them make informed decisions as they decide on a career path. “Including today’s young people in the workforce is essential for innovation and creativity, which translate to productivity and competitiveness,” states the report 13 Ways to Modernize Youth Employment in Canada.

Where will we be 150 years from now? Hopefully in a thriving economy waxing optimistic about the next 150 years.

CEDEC works with Cégeps, universities, adult learning centres, organizations, business start-up service providers, and entrepreneurs in communities across Quebec to help young adults between the ages of 18-39 achieve their business dreams. CEDEC’s Youth Start-Up workshops enable youth to take their business ideas from intention to action.

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