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Why do Northern Ontario youth wish to be entrepreneurs?

In March of 2022, a report entitled "A Reason to Stay: Retaining Youth in Northern Ontario" was issued by Northern Policy Institute in partnership with the Société Économique de l’Ontario (SÉO). "The Youth in Northern Ontario Survey was developed to help find solutions to youth out-migration in Northern Ontario"

The survey question I found interesting touched on entrepreneurship of which Northern youth want to become entrepreneurs: almost 50% of respondents said they want to be entrepreneurs. The report discovered that Anglophones were more likely to seek capital (17%) or help with evaluating a business plan (32%), while Francophones expressed interest in mentorships (26%) and having access to co-working space (17%).

The report recommended that "Nothern Youth expressed a desire to become web-based entrepreneurs – a YouTuber and Twitch streamer respectively". This may be due to the fact that the Internet is available to them at very little cost and is a big source of entertainment.

So, why is this the case? Why do Northern Ontario youth wish to be entrepreneurs? There may be many reasons such as the following:

1. The North’s lifestyle is uniquely valuable - the fresh air, the beauty of the environment, and the relatively low cost of living compared with the southern areas.

2. The Northern Ontario population may have a particularly high commitment to community/ family & close-knit family ties. This results from a strong emphasis on community involvement, which may be one of the main reasons for youth wanting to remain close to their Northern home towns.

3. The Northern Ontario youth may not be interested in moving to the southern parts because they don’t want to be influenced by what’s happening in their communities - they probably enjoy their local culture, food, and social life. This is interesting because the report discovered " that the boomerang concept, that people return back to their communities, is very real and present".

4. Northern Ontario is a great place to raise children - there is generally more space for children to play, less traffic, and a slower pace of life.

5. The Northern Ontario youth may recognize that there’s a great deal of value in the local knowledge, history, and culture of their communities.

6. Northern Ontario business opportunities are less competitive than in southern areas - this basically means that when a business is started in an area, there is more potential for growth at a lower cost.

7. Northern Ontario has a strong culture and traditions - this is an important factor for youth, particularly in the Northeastern districts because the Métis culture is so strong and unique.

8. Northern Ontario has great communities - this includes a strong community spirit, sports teams, and things to do for the youth.

9. Northern Ontario is close to family - Northerners understand that the quality of their lives will be better if they stay close to their friends and families.

10. Due to their interconnectedness to the Nation, the people of Northern Ontario may be more aware and more sensitive to issues in other parts of Canada/ that could have a negative impact on them (such as energy issues, and resource price fluctuation.)

11. Northern Ontario youth may like the freedom that comes from living in a remote area.

12. The people of Northern Ontario may be much more interested in taking care of their environment, which raises the value of clean air and water.

13. Northern Ontario youth may be concerned about the cost of higher education - they may like the fact that Northern Ontario has many schools, colleges, and universities.

14. Northern Ontario youth are quite social - they go to clubs, bars, parties, and music festivals and may generally be more interested in meeting new people.

15. Northern Ontario youth may be more interested in high-tech jobs and are therefore more likely to acquire higher education to acquire skills for those careers.

16. The people of Northern Ontario may be generally more open to new ideas, which is one of the reasons they are so innovative.

Overall, I found this report to be very interesting. I think it’s interesting that the report not only talked about why Northern Ontario youth wish to remain in their communities but also why they wished to become entrepreneurs. However, I would like to know more about what it is that attracts Northern Ontario youth to entrepreneurship and why they are interested in being entrepreneurs.


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