In fact, nearly half of Canadian students see themselves starting a business after graduation, according to a Bank of Montreal survey.

And while the job market may be tough for young people, there is an array of resources and tools available for young entrepreneurs looking to kick-start their first venture.

1. Determine what resources are right for you
For those still in high school or university who are looking to test their mettle and start their first company, the province of Ontario offers the Summer Company Program which provides training, mentoring and a $3,000 grant for students looking to start a summer business.

Many high schools and post-secondary institutions are providing entrepreneurship training and support for businesses. Under the Ontario government’s Youth Jobs Strategy, $45-million was dedicated to entrepreneurship, and this has resulted in a range of new campus based business incubators and accelerators to support students with their ventures.

For those no longer in school and under 30, there is also the Starter Company Program. Aimed at helping young people create their own job, the program provides training, mentoring and a $5,000 grant to help young entrepreneurs in launching their company.

2. Acquire funding
Getting started is the first step, but getting financing to grow is just as important. And, while there will always be a call for increased access to capital for new ventures, organizations like Futurpreneur, the Business Development Bank of Canada, MaRS’ Youth Business Acceleration Program, the province-wide Campus Linked Accelerators (CLA), and the Ontario government’s SmartStart Seed Fund, are a few resources available for young people.

3. Follow your passion
There’s a growing number of opportunities for young people to both pursue what makes them come alive and work on what matters to the world. CityStudio Vancouver, St. Paul’s GreenHouse in Waterloo, 21inc in New Brunswick, and Studio Y in Toronto are just a few of those examples.

So while the job market is tough, there are young people making opportunities for themselves – our only hope is that by accessing the various resources available to them, these young entrepreneurs can build successful businesses that employ their peers and generate not only tax revenues, but also address broader societal challenges.

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