Quebec Entrepreneurship Index 2018, Ten years of data on our entrepreneurial vitality

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Quebec Entrepreneurship Index 2018

Ten years of data on our entrepreneurial vitality

The Quebec Entrepreneurial Index 2018, a study led by the Fondation de l’entrepreneurship’s Réseau M, paints a revealing picture of the entrepreneurial evolution of Quebec. Here’s a four-point breakdown of the study.

Published for the first time in 2009, the ongoing study presents its tenth report this year and demonstrates that entrepreneurial intentions are up 12.5% and start-up development 6.2% compared to 10 years ago.

Women’s entrepreneurial intentions are rising

For the sixth consecutive year, the entrepreneurial intention rate has risen amongst women and is now 17.1%. While men are still in the majority when it comes to expressing a desire to start a business, the gap between the sexes is decreasing (it was 10.4 points in 2014, compared to 4.8 points in 2018).

“It should be pointed out that the entrepreneurial intention rate amongst women in Quebec is higher than in comparable countries,” explains Rina Marchand, the senior director of content and innovation at Fondation de l’entrerpreneurship’s Réseau M. According to Marchand, the high rates observed amongst female entrepreneurs is an encouraging sign for the future and demonstrates that efforts on the ground have borne fruit. Marchand also feels the rise is partly attributable to a rally in the business world in general and to the emergence of initiatives targeted at ensuring both dynamism and equality.

overall reduction in entrepreneurial intention and in start-ups

While entrepreneurial intentions and start-ups have increased to 12.5% and 6.2% respectively over the last 10 years (compared to 14% and 6.6% in 2017), a slow-down has been observed in these two statistics in the last two years. This slight reduction may be attributable to the strong job market, which attracts those who are undecided, according to Marchand. “In a very strong job market, we do not believe that this reduction comes at the expense of solid entrepreneurship.”

Four segments of the population to watch out for

If you look at intention and start-up development rates since 2009, four groups stand apart as segments with strong potential for contributing to the vigour of local entrepreneurship: women, immigrants, young people and Generation X.

Women have seen their entrepreneurial intention rates rise along with all other business owners. Women now represent 41% of owners (40% in 2017).

See also: Quebec Entrepreneurial Index 2017

Entrepreneurship amongst immigrants has also been strong, with that group’s intention rate increasing by 7.5% in three years. “We’re never seen this much effort directed at helping immigrant entrepreneurs, and that’s great because it’s a sector that has huge potential,” confirms Marchand. “This very dynamic segment in terms of the intention rate, however, is not represented at an equivalent rate amongst the population of owners. That’s where we need to focus our support.”

As for Generation Y, stimulation initiatives seem to have paid off, as 43% of young people at the start-up development level began their project less than one year earlier (compared to 33% for other groups). This segment, who are “natural” entrepreneurs according to Marchand, contribute significantly to the vibrancy observed in the entrepreneurial community.

One less examined group, entrepreneurs between 35 and 49 years of age, proved to be very significant in the 2018 index. For this group, the intention rate actually tripled in six years, moving from 9% in 2012 to 26% in 2018. “Generation X entrepreneurs often fly under the radar,” emphasizes Marchand, “and yet they represent about a third of all owners. When they start a business, they have a lot of experience, networks and resources. We’re all living longer lives than ever before. So starting a business in this age range is a good time to be active and allows you the opportunity to successfully follow through on a project that is focused on growth.”


Since 2014, the intention rate amongst those holding university degrees has risen from 20% in 2014 to 28% in 2018, an increase mirrored in the start-up rate. As Marchand explains, this evolution might be attributable to an increase in the number of stimulation initiatives deployed at universities.

“Universities have become places where you can network and even experiment with entrepreneurship. These institutions have learned how to teach young student entrepreneurs to think in terms of innovation and global commerce. Even the college level today is increasingly influenced by entrepreneurship. All this creates a pretty valuable pipeline of entrepreneurs.”

Thus once again this year, Réseau M of the Foundation de l’entrepreneurship has observed that over a period of 10 years, Quebec entrepreneurship has been enriched by valuable knowledge and obvious momentum.

to learn more:

See the complete report by the Fondation de l’entrepreneurship’s Réseau M  

The 2018 Index is present by the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and produced in partnership with the Institute for Entrepreneurship National Bank │ HEC Montréal and Léger.