You can’t manufacture entrepreneurs

If you have ever met this guy, you would agree with me. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, government in Atlantic Canada had the ‘bright’ to encourage unemployed people to start their own businesses and put a number of programs in place to help them do so. The naive thinking was they would create a class of ‘entrepreneurs’ in New Brunswick. 25 years on, we have less ‘entrepreneurs’ – by my definition – than the rest of Canada. What they did was create a class of small business owners with a failure rate of close to 80%.

I could name a dozen real entrepreneurs – guys/gals with a passion to build a business – to take their products national and international. To risk it all. And from an economic development perspective, governments must realize the difference between the guy/gal who wants to run a small lifestyle business and an entrepreneur. I am not complaining about the lifestyle business – far from it but those types of businesses will not lead to growth in the economy. Only those that are exporting products or services (or in some cases import substitution) will lead to economic growth.