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A survey of new Canadian business owners reveals that despite the widespread negative impact of COVID-19 and resulting lockdowns on Canadian small businesses, entrepreneurial spirit remains strong.

TORONTO— Owner, Canada’s leading business and legal management platform, today announced the release of new data that reveals the impact of COVID-19 on the creation of new businesses. Data shows that entrepreneurs have had a huge impact on their ability to survive the pandemic by pivoting their business offerings and recognizing opportunities to fill gaps in their industry.

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Key survey highlights include:

  • 22% of business owners have adapted their business strategy during COVID-19 in response to a negative financial impact experienced by their business.
  • More than a quarter (26%) of new entrepreneurs in 2020 said the pandemic had created a gap in the market that their new business had filled.
  • 20% of new entrepreneurs in 2020 had their jobs threatened due to COVID-19 and started their own business in order to be proactive.
  • 14% of new entrepreneurs in 2020 started their business after being laid off.

Entrepreneurs see e-commerce as the way forward

Despite being disproportionately impacted by shutdowns and stay-at-home orders resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, retail remained the fastest growing industry for new business owners in Canada.

Retail was the top industry to see new business start-ups in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta, with 62% of business owners expecting e-commerce to play a bigger role in their business. company throughout 2021.

“There’s no doubt that the impacts of COVID-19 have been far-reaching, but there’s a lot to be said for the resilience and courage of entrepreneurs,” said Shadi McIsaac, co-founder and CEO of Owner. “We expected fewer entrepreneurs to get into retail during COVID-19, but we were encouraged to see an 88% growth in new direct selling businesses launched on Ownerof the platform last year compared to 2019. This really highlights the tenacity of independent business owners, even in these trying times.

The entrepreneurial spirit of future business owners has not been dampened by COVID-19

Despite the prominent narrative around COVID-19 focused on small business challenges, aspiring entrepreneurs remain determined in the background, with 95% of non-business owners surveyed saying they still plan to start their own business in the future.

“The fact that so many Canadian entrepreneurs are still looking to start their businesses is an optimistic signal that small businesses could remain the backbone of the economy that shapes and propels Canada into a post-COVID world,” Shane said. Murphy, Chief Operating Officer of Owner.

Additional survey highlights include:

  • 43% of business owners experienced fewer customers and lower sales than expected during COVID-19.

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  • A quarter (26%) of business owners said difficulty accessing finance was a significant cause of financial impact.
  • Nearly half (46%) of aspiring entrepreneurs said the biggest barrier to starting their business was not knowing how to get started, underscoring the need for more resources and training for small business owners.
  • Only 20% of entrepreneurs started their business before the age of 30, with the majority (46%) starting between the ages of 30 and 44, proving that it’s never too late to bring a new product or service to market .
  • Unfortunately, 14% of entrepreneurs are still planning to permanently close their business in 2021.

On Owner

Owner makes it simpler and more affordable for businesses to start and succeed. We know that starting and running a business takes a lot of effort. By simplifying and automating business formation and day-to-day legal work, we help small businesses thrive. Owner has helped over 30,000 Canadians realize their dreams since 2017. Owner is operated by RBC Ventures Inc., a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada. For more information, visit

Methodology: Ownr surveyed 29,694 of its users, whether or not they had started a business, and received 890 responses in an online questionnaire between January 21 and 25. The survey has a margin of error of 3.24% at a 95% confidence level. .

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Megan Stangl | Talk Shop Media | [email protected] | 647-801-0120



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