With new businesses popping up and old ones being restored, it’s safe to say the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well here in Alberta. One demographic, in particular, demonstrates a strong desire to enter the world of entrepreneurship – youth.
Studies have shown that over the past ten years, the number of individuals involved in entrepreneurial endeavours grew by 50%, with young entrepreneurs (age 18-34) representing a healthy chunk of that number. The global events over the past few years have many young people re-evaluating what their idea of success is, and how they plan to get there. The pandemic shone a light on a lot of flaws in the long-standing “9-5” system and has inspired many youths to want to work for themselves.
The impact that youth entrepreneurs and small businesses have on their local communities, and in turn, the global market, can’t be understated. By starting their own business, young entrepreneurs can contribute to job creation, productivity, innovation, and overall economic growth. Furthermore, creating and maintaining a successful business can be a life long career.
But, there are challenges that young entrepreneurs face. So, how can we help support them through the many challenges they will face?
Entrepreneurs face a wide scope of challenges ranging from monetary issues to the stress of maintaining a successful business. When looking at young entrepreneurs specifically, there is a new set of challenges to deal with.
The top 3 challenges facing young entrepreneurs are:
- Financing their business
- Creating a successful business plan
- Need for a Mentor
Financing Their Business
One of the most common challenges young entrepreneurs face is funding. Where do they get it? Who will take their business goals seriously enough to invest in them financially?
They face funding challenges because young entrepreneurs often have not been able to build up a credit history or have assets they can use for security. Many traditional lenders are not able or do not want to work with young entrepreneurs to find a solution. Community Futures Central Alberta has a youth loan program with flexible terms for entrepreneurs ages 18-34. This way, these business owners have the collateral to get their businesses off the ground or allow them to grow.
Creating a Successful Business Plan
Other than working with an organization with loan programs specifically targeted to youth, having a strong business plan will improve your chances of being approved for funding.
But a business plan not only builds your funding, it also drives your business’s operation and growth. Unfortunately, many young entrepreneurs do not have the knowledge and resources to create a successful business plan.
Creating an effective business plan can be an incredibly confusing and disheartening process for a young, business-minded individual without the proper guidance. So, if you need assistance, we can work alongside you to establish a sound business plan and find flexible funding options that work in your favour.
Our team of small business specialists is well-versed in entrepreneurship, specifically in rural communities. Our support services, mentoring advice and guidance can help young entrepreneurs succeed in this competitive world.
Need for a Mentor
Speaking of networking, this is one area that simply can’t be underestimated. In the world of entrepreneurship and business, it’s all about “who you know”. Everyone needs a little help now and then, and having a mentor to turn to for trustworthy advice is an incredibly useful resource that young entrepreneurs should learn to utilize from the start. Making the right connections is essential, and we can help connect young entrepreneurs with the right people and provide you with valuable mentorship along the way.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to network is via social media. Utilizing social media platforms and creating a website are two incredibly useful tools for any business owner. More and more of the business world is moving online, including how we market our business, how we sell our products and how we connect with other business professionals.
Keeping on top of in-person and virtual conferences and other events can help you make connections, learn about entrepreneurship organizations, young entrepreneur funds, grants and loans, and help you advertise your business or services among other like-minded professionals.
Whether you are a young entrepreneur with aspirations of starting your own business or growing an existing one, there are many different ways organizations like Community Futures Central Alberta can support your entrepreneurial aspirations. We understand the challenges that small business owners in our rural communities face, especially the struggles of young entrepreneurs who are 18-34.
Community Futures Central Alberta offers a wide scope of support services to help young business owners realize their entrepreneurial visions. Even if you aren’t seeking financing from us, we’re here to provide business coaching, advisory services, resources, and other useful tools. From free consultations and training programs to accessible loans and funding options, there are many ways we can help support you on your journey. Let’s build young entrepreneurs’ businesses together, right here in Central Alberta.