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Self-starters.

In general, the life of an entrepreneur is anything but stable. Poor markets and the recession are not friendly to small business. Many would-be company starters are deterred from putting their dreams into action by the high mortality rate of newborn firms. An oft quoted statistic is that 50 per cent of all new companies fail within the first three years.

Although recent research indicates that figure is inflated, in this case, perception may be more powerful than reality in keeping people from creating their own job. Governments, however, are anxious to get more people out into the rough and tumble world of small business since roughly 80 per cent of all new jobs in Canada are created by small- and medium-sized enterprises.

Here in Manitoba it seems plenty of people are willing to take the risk of living by their wits, and prepared for hard work. Last year, 10,032 new business names and corporations were registered in the province, only a three percent drop from the year before. Those numbers do not always translate into thriving businesses, however they are a good indicator of optimism. Most people who register a business name intend to do something with the registration.

The Business Start Program also has good news. Since 1990, when the program began, 179 people have received a loan to start a business -- 74 per cent of them are in Winnipeg. In total $1.5 million in guarantees have been offered by the provincial government with an 11.5 per cent failure rate. Last year there was a 10 per cent increase in approvals.

According to the coordinator of the program, Tom Gilmore, the reason for the increase in small business starts is widespread layoffs -- people respond by striking out on their own as a way of surviving.

Professor Walter Good, head of the marketing department at the University of Manitoba, says companies like Sharon's Perogies are very common in Manitoba. According to a recent study, 70 per cent of all new businesses started in Manitoba in the past five years were initially operated out of the home. The study also looked at the other western provinces where there are some startling differences.

In B.C., 76 per cent of all new business is home based, but in Alberta and Saskatchewan the numbers are down around 50 per cent. Good says the study did not find reasons for this variance but the entire phenomena of home-based businesses may indicate we are moving towards a service- and information-based economy.

Says Good, "Many businesses now don't need the physical contact typically associated with manufacturing and retailing."

Looking ahead, Good sees continued growth in the number of entrepreneurs. With large firms shedding people through layoffs and attrition coupled with the persistent freeze in government hiring Good asks "What else is left? Small business."
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Title Annotation:entrepreneurship in Manitoba
Author:Ryan, Bramwell
Publication:Manitoba Business
Date:Mar 1, 1993
Words:472
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