A Global Research Perspective
Edited by Candida G. Brush, Nancy M. Carter, Elizabeth J. Gatewood, Patricia G. Greene and Myra M. Hart
Chapter 3: Women’s Entrepreneurship in Canada: Progress, Puzzles and Priorities
Jennifer E. Jennings and Michelle Provorny Cash* OVERALL ENTREPRENEURIAL ACTIVITY IN CANADA Women’s entrepreneurial activity in Canada occurs within the context of a strong national culture of entrepreneurship and small business ownership. In the 2002 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) study of nascent entrepreneurship rates,1 Canada ranked eighth out of the 37 countries surveyed, up from its thirteenth place ranking only one year earlier (Riverin, 2003: 7). The country’s nascent prevalence rate in 2002 was 5.9 percent – a rate that was superior to the G7 average of 3.7 percent and the GEM 37 mean of 4.7 percent, on par with that of Korea, and only slightly behind the US rate of 7.1 percent (Riverin, 2003: 7). In addition, the study estimated Canada’s new firm rate2 at 3.6 percent during the same year (Riverin, 2003: 12). Although both of these rates were lower than those reported for 2001, Canada’s five-spot jump in the rankings indicates that, relative to other countries, the nation has not been as severely affected by the global decline in entrepreneurial activity (Riverin, 2003: 12). Canada also has a vibrant small business sector. According to the most recent Statistics Canada data available,3 approximately 2.4 million Canadians were self-employed in 2003, representing 14 percent of the Canadian labor force. These individuals own approximately 2.2 million business establishments, of which 1 million have employees and 1.1 million do not. The vast majority of those that employ others – 98 percent – are ‘small businesses’; that is, firms with less than 100...
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