Are you ready for the big leagues young entrepreneur?

What if we treated aspiring entrepreneurs like hockey players?  I am not the first one to find merit in this concept, but let’s really think about it…

In Canada we start preparing of our hockey players young so they can make mistakes early and learn from those experiences. There are numerous training opportunities, year round if a family chooses, and many opportunities for mentorship. For those who need it, there is even financial support.

All this is in the hopes that these young players will one day make the NHL. We know that only a select few will actually make it to this level, but we have accepted this as there are many other benefits of hockey.

Besides the physical activity there is teamwork, goal setting, and information processing, just to name a few. And that is just for the player, there is also community benefit for those who rally behind these teams and support them.

We expect something different of entrepreneurs. We seem to expect superstars from opening day. When we celebrate those who make it to the top, we don’t usually know if the owner(s) have had training beforehand, if this is there first or second or even third business, or if they have had any mentorship or support to get their operations off the ground. According to industry Canada, just 51% of new businesses survive past the five year mark.

The good news is that for those who receive support, they greatly defy those odds. Take Futurpreneur Canada – an organization that helps young entrepreneurs aged 18-39 launch their business, through coaching, mentoring and lending. Their five-year business success rate is 80%.

There’s tremendous value in starting our entrepreneurs at a young age. Increased local successful businesses translates into more jobs for our communities. Most economic developers will tell you that between 80 to 90 per cent of job growth comes from investment into existing small businesses.

So what are we waiting for? Let’s encourage more kids into the Alberta Entrepreneurship Youth Camp, let’s commend the numerous volunteers for Junior Achievement, and let’s support those organizations in our communities that are providing business coaching and training like the APEX Entrepreneurship Incubator that aims to make the next Gretzky’s in business.

Even if they don’t make it to the big leagues, by supporting entrepreneurs these individuals learn goal setting, teamwork, information processing, financial literacy and all kinds of valuable life skills. And it’s never too late to stop learning. Unlike hockey where you are usually set for retirement at 40, in the entrepreneurship world you will have just hit your prime.

If you have an idea for a business, get the support that’s available to you. There is a whole team of experts and coaches that want to help you make the big leagues.

The MHC Entrepreneur Development Centre helps student and alumni bring their entrepreneurship dreams to life. We offer 1-1 coaching, training, mentorship and access to a diverse network of startup funding. To connect into our network email [email protected] or call 403.502.8433.

Written by:  Tracy Stroud |  Tracy is the Manager of Business Development at Medicine Hat College.