There seems to have been a shift in what several young people aspire to be when they “grow up.” With more and more young people, particularly in the more traditionally westernized countries like Canada, England and the USA, aspiring to be Social Media Influencers, Twitch Streamers and Youtubers. And even at a university level, after having a conversation with some colleges at school and work, I noted that more people are accommodating the idea of venturing out of more traditional jobs and being their own bosses, which is very interesting because when I have the same conversations with people in my parents’ generation, I realize that they still see the world of business ownership and freelance media production as something taboo and a little too risky a career move for their child, and as a result advocate for the safer career options that require higher education and training.
In the last couple of years, I have realized that there has been a drastic shift in the thoughts that people have about entrepreneurship and starting businesses, and many young people seeing this as a new career path. This change could be based on the high rates of unemployment, especially in places like Ontario (which has one of the heist unemployment rates in Canada), the need to have multiple streams of income and even the media and its portrayal of the entrepreneurs as a glamorous thing. Never the less, there seems to be a spick in interest around the topic.
In particular, this year, according to an article by Forbes Magazine, 2018, had been deemed the “Year of Entrepreneur” (Pridham, 2018). The article suggests that there was concern about declines in the Entrepreneurship sector, but this year has seen a drastic increase in new entrepreneurial ventures. This information and other personal connections I have with entrepreneurship have sparked an interest in me about the increase in Entrepreneurship has done to Equity in people's incomes. More particularly if the emergence of Entrepreneurship has evened out the playing field for everyone, including the visible minorities, aboriginal peoples, the LGBTQ community and women.
In this post, I want to attempt to find out if entrepreneurship is promoting equity of people covered by the employment equity legislation: more specifically, if it is evening out the playing field for women concerning the wage gap (which is something important for me as a young female entrepreneur). An operational definition of Entrepreneurship would be a person who starts a business rather than working as an employee, founds and runs a small business, assuming all the risks and rewards of the venture. Equity is the notion of fairness in resource distribution and reinforces that everyone needs to be given what they need to succeed.
The first article, “Entrepreneurship and income inequality: a spatial panel data analysis,” gives an empirical evaluation of the relationship between entrepreneurship and income inequality between various county's development stages. Results suggest that the level of economic growth of a country will affect the income gap's size. This is shown by a non-linear relationship between income inequality and entrepreneurship. Specifically, an inverted U-shaped relationship between entrepreneurship and income inequality is affected largely by the country’s economic development level.
The second article I reviewed was titled “Mediating Role of Entrepreneurship in Explaining the Association Between Income Inequality and Regional Economic Performance.” It looked at the effects that inequality has on the economy. It also looks at the role of entrepreneurship in the economy. The results seem to show that inequality does harm both variables (the ideas of demand and supply for goods).
The third article, “Inequality and marginalization: social innovation, social entrepreneurship and business model innovation,” reviews the effect of investment in programs that increase marginalized people's opportunities to have on an economy. The results suggest that these programs allow for that gap to be closed slightly.
The final article was titled “Entrepreneurship and gender: differential access to finance and divergent business value.” This article looks at variations regarding resources available to people of different genders, specifically in Entrepreneurship. The results suggest a variance, and it is not necessarily linked to the individual, but the systems like banks and their judgement call when giving things like loans out.
All articles suggest that there is inequality in Entrepreneurship and suggest that different factors that they look at are the same factors that influence this inequality.
For example, the first article suggests that in less economically developed countries like Zimbabwean and more economically developed countries like Canada, the development would have a different effect on the rate at which people will start businesses. This is because it is harder for entrepreneurs to start a business in places like Zimbabwe due to lack of information, resources and finances rather than in a place like Canada; it is easier for individuals to be entrepreneurs because people can get a loan from the bank. Assuming unequal possession of resources, some groups can be affected, affecting their ability to participate. In particular, women may have trouble getting access to loans in places with lower economic rates, which may not make equity possible for aspiring entrepreneurs.
This is consistent with the research found in the final article that suggests that some groups of people are more likely to be denied access to some resources not because of personal or individual situations but simply by being part of a specific group like being a woman. I find it interesting because, even though recent research suggests that more women are entrepreneurs, their male counterparts are more likely to be set up for success from the start. And this suggests that to a greater extent, entrepreneurship doesn’t even out the playing field, but it does help spark the conversation that helps us get to the point of equity for all groups of people.
In researching this topic, I hope that there will be an increase in awareness of things we can do to promote entrepreneurship to different groups of people. We will gain more knowledge on the effect of entrepreneurship on the economy and what structures can be put into place to reinforce equity in individual businesses' public and private sectors to maximize the profits made for all relevant parties. And hopefully, organizations that promote equity (The Business Case for Supplier Diversity in Canada), people who facilitate training programs (e.g. PAGO Centre for Women’s Enterprise) and lawmakers within governments can benefit from this research. And like mentioned in the third article, programmes like this can positively affect marginalized social groups.
In conclusion, although the research seems to suggest that there is still some inequality in the entrepreneurial sector, I am optimistic that as a result of people addressing these concerns and more people being aware of the problem, there will be more laws and policies that will continue to empower and encourage women and other groups affected (visual minorities, aboriginal people and LGBTQ community).