About two years ago, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall invited several young business and entrepreneurial leaders to dinner to solicit feedback on current and future challenges and opportunities in the province.
I was fortunate to have been selected to sit at the table. Government leaders who take the time to listen, who value, and who act on ideas from young entrepreneurs will help build a better society.
From June 3 to 5, I will join hundreds of influential young entrepreneurs and other leaders from the G20 countries for the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Summit (G20 YES). The goal this time is even bigger. We will collaborate to form a vision and action plan to fuel economic growth through innovation and entrepreneurship. That plan will be presented to the G20 leaders later in June.
The Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF), a national non-profit that provides young entrepreneurs with financing and mentoring, supported my business this year through its Start-up Program. CYBF is also leading the 20 or so members of the Canadian delegation to the summit, which takes place over three days in Mexico and brings together more than 400 entrepreneurs from around the world, aged 18 to 45.
I don’t know why I was selected to be a Canadian delegate over other great candidates, but my guess is that it has to do with passion. When I chose to become an entrepreneur, I chose far more than an occupation – I committed myself to creating value, developing innovative ideas, building an economy, and inspiring others to be entrepreneurial.
My belief in entrepreneurship is simple: when fostered by the right community through the right policies, it can have a profound impact on the world. Entrepreneurs do more than create jobs. They create industries. They create opportunities. They solve global challenges, such as providing energy, clean water and food to a planet that is estimated to grow by nearly a billion people in the next decade.
If young business owners can help governments and policy makers understand why entrepreneurship is so important, we can guide their understanding of how to foster it. Communicating the “why” and “how” are the key messages I want to spearhead in Mexico.
In addition to providing input to governments, I am particularly excited about engaging, interacting, and connecting with some of the world’s leading entrepreneurs. As young people, we often focus on networking with experienced business leaders. That is important, no doubt, but too often we forget the value of networking with our peers. I want to learn from others – from Canada and abroad – to really understand how similar, or different, our entrepreneurial experiences are.
I am also looking for future partners to do business with. As our company enters new markets around the world, we are looking for strategic relationships. I hope to establish some of these partnerships at the G20 YES.
Before leaving Saskatoon for Mexico, I asked W. Brett Wilson, our key investor and mentor, for his thoughts on the importance of entrepreneurship. His response was simple: “Planting the seeds of entrepreneurship is critical to future generations – and therefore to the future of Canada.”
Like Mr. Wall, Mr. Wilson understands that fostering entrepreneurship is a crucial component of a healthy economic future for Canada. Hopefully, after the delegates present their findings and recommendations to the leaders of the G20 countries, those leaders will share in this understanding too.
Special to The Globe and Mail
Bryan McCrea is the founder of Saskatoon-based 3twenty solutions, a designer and manufacturer of modular structures for the oil, gas and mining industries.
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