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The Bank of Montreal says the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well among young Canadians.

According to the bank, almost half of Canadian post-secondary students surveyed – 46 per cent – said they see themselves starting a business after graduation.

BMO said that some see their planned new business as a primary source of income while others see it as a secondary source.

The findings came out of a survey conducted by Pollara, which asked Canadian post-secondary students about career prospects and their aspirations to own their own business.

The results found less than a third of those surveyed – just 29 per cent – were very confident they could find a job in their own field after graduation.

Among other findings of the survey: Males, by a margin of 53 per cent to 40 per cent, were more likely to start a business. Meanwhile, more males than females – 38 per cent versus 22 per cent – were also very confident of being able to find a job in their fields.

"Our research tells us that a number of students are unsure if they will end up working in their field of study," said Steve Murphy, senior vice-president, commercial banking.

"The good news is, this means they will look to other post-graduate opportunities as a form of income, which could include starting a business."

Mr. Murphy described it as "encouraging to see Canadian post-secondary students and recent graduates who are ambitious, innovative and eager to contribute to Canada's economy."

By region, the greatest percentage of respondents who say they planned to start their own business was in British Columbia, at 50 per cent.

That was followed by Manitoba and Saskatchewan at 49 per cent, Ontario at 47 per cent, Quebec at 46 per cent, Atlantic Canada at 42 per cent and Alberta at 41 per cent.

According to Statistics Canada, approximately 130,000 new small businesses are created in Canada annually. These businesses are the key to driving employment, with more than 40 per cent of Canadians working for an organization with fewer than 100 employees.

Pollara conducted the online survey of 602 post-secondary students between July 22 and July 25. The polling industry's professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.

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