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Who exactly is an entrepreneur?

By Samantha Garner | December 7, 2019

what is an entrepreneur

What Is Entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship has been defined in various ways over the last several hundred years. The French word entreprendre, meaning “to undertake, to do something,” was in use as early as the 12th century. Three hundred years later the corresponding noun “entrepreneur” developed, and referred in English terms to a merchant or an adventurer.

Since the first formal use of the concept by economist Richard Cantillon in the early 1700s, entrepreneurship has meant many things to many different people.

Earlier definitions of entrepreneurship centre on innovation, or “new combinations of the factors of production” such as new products; new services; new methods of production; new markets; new sources of supply and new forms of organization.

Who Is An Entrepreneur?

In Canada, there are nearly 1.3 million registered businesses. Of those, 98% have fewer than 100 employees, 55% have fewer than five employees, and 75% of all businesses in Canada have fewer than ten employees. This means most of businesses in Canada are small – by a long shot. If you add the unregistered businesses and the self-employed people of Canada to the number, we have just under 5 million businesses and self-employed people. Cool, eh?

About one in six Canadians either work for themselves, or have started a business. Canadian entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, ages, genders, backgrounds, and circumstances.

What this means is: you can become a successful entrepreneur. It takes hard work, determination, a good idea and a little luck along the way. And, of course, entrepreneurship training. On average, 150,000 new small businesses are created in Canada each year — but only 35% survive five years. But the good news is that, according to studies, entrepreneurs with education in entrepreneurship and previous entrepreneurship experience have an 80–90% chance of success with a new business.

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