Millennial self-employment in export-oriented industries: An NB challenge

I have been thinking a lot lately about entrepreneurship among Millennials. If we want a vibrant and durable economy moving forward we need the next generation of ambitious and growth-focused entrepreneurs to step up.  Over the past decade we have witnessed a substantial boost to the government supported services meant to support entrepreneurs – and we have seen an expansion of the private capital available to them.  Governments have invested millions in support and expanded the small business investor tax credit program to encourage more investment in startups.

Unfortunately the most recent data we have is from the 2011 NHS but that paints a rather bleak picture of self-employment among Millennials in New Brunswick.  The chart below tells the story.  It is an index where the country’s workforce as a whole is represented by 1.00.  Anything above the line means NB has a higher share and anything below the line means we have a lower share compared to the national workforce.  For self-employment in occupations that are only focused on the local market (Lawyers, doctors, vets, accountants), we have a higher share of young people that are self-employed compared to the national workforce but among those occupations that tend to have high concentrations in export-focused industries we are well below the line.  Across the country 8.5%  of IT workers are self-employed.  In New Brunswick it is 2.3%.

In the manufacturing sector (not depicted in the chart) only 30 young people out of the 5,200 working in the sector are self-employed.  Across the country there are 4x as many young people in the manufacturing sector classified as self-employed.

Hopefully the numbers have improved since 2011.  However, Dr. Haan’s statistic looms large in the background.  Those who leave the province are twice as likely to own a business as those that stay.

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