Square Report: Gen Z entrepreneurs in Canada are optimistic about the future

The future of Gen Z entrepreneurs in Canada is looking bright — according to them, that is.

Gen Z: A New Age in Canadian Entrepreneurship, a new report from Square in collaboration with Leger Marketing, is based on the findings of a survey conducted with 400 Canadians aged 18–27 who own a business or are in the process of starting one. According to the report, in spite of facing economic challenges such as post-pandemic inflation and the later retirement of previous generations of workers, entrepreneurs born between 1995 and 2012 are feeling confident about their economic prospects as business owners.

Here are some highlights from the report:

Gen Z men and women are motivated differently when it comes to starting a business, report different entrepreneurial role models and definitions of success

The report indicates that being one’s boss is a top motivator for 40% of Gen Zers wanting to start a business, but it matters more to men (41%) than women (38%). Building financial stability is an important motivating factor for women (47%), but only 38% of men surveyed felt the same way. The Gen Z gender divide is more significant when it comes to entrepreneurial role models: 34% of male respondents indicated that they looked up to Elon Musk the most, while women had far less interest in Musk (14%), favouring entertainers-turned-moguls Selena Gomez (25%), Ryan Reynolds (18%) and Rihanna (18%).

The definition of success also varied largely between Gen Z men and women in Canada, with 51% of women indicating that growing a customer base was the number-one success factor, compared to only 38% of men. Women were also far more concerned with customer satisfaction (39%) than men (29%).

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Gen Z believes in doing their homework when it comes to social issues

Out of the Gen Z entrepreneurs surveyed in the Square report, 3 out of 4 (76%) reported that an awareness of social and political issues is a core part of being a responsible and forward thinking business owner.

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Technology is a slay when it comes to Gen Zers starting a business

FACTS: 79% of survey respondents said they consider technology tools, such as payment processing, essential to starting a business. More than a third (36%) attribute Gen Z’s entrepreneurial nature to greater access to technology and related tools.

However, the generation still lacks comfort with some of the financial tasks required to run a business: 86% of respondents have at least one finance-related task they feel ill-equipped to handle, with more than one-fifth (22%) struggling with knowing how to secure funding. Some (21%) also admit to difficulties with budgeting and cash flow management, and another 19% find it difficult to manage invoices.

“There can be many unknowns when starting a new business, but the right tools and financial services can help,” said Roshan Jhunja, head of retail at Square. “Generation Z is one of the most innovative and entrepreneurial demographics to date and Square is committed to empowering them by offering a comprehensive suite of hardware, software and financial services to help them start, run and grow their businesses.”