Maged Elhami advises new entrepreneurs: learn more, find help


Entrepreneurship in Canada is booming. 

One of five Canadians started a new business within the last 12 months, according to a survey from Intuit Quickbooks, and many more are interested in doing the same thing. 

The results of Quickbooks’ The Future of Entrepreneurship in Canada Report found that entrepreneurs who started their business in the past year did so because of spare time from the COVID-19 pandemic (39 percent), financial pressures from the pandemic (23 percent), and as a result of being laid off (19 percent).

Whatever the reason, now that they have their own business, lifelong businessman and entrepreneur Maged Elhami said that Canada’s new generation of entrepreneurs must face the hard part: keeping the business afloat. 

“Starting a business isn’t that hard,” Elhami said. “If you can get a loan, or have a good idea for a new product or service, then starting a startup isn’t actually that difficult. It’s making it profitable over the long-term that separates the successes from the failures.”

If you’re one of these new entrepreneurs, Maged Elhami has a few suggestions for maximizing your ability to succeed. 

Get An Accountant

As this article from Canadian Accountant points out, the Quickbooks survey had some other interesting findings than the booming number of entrepreneurs.

The survey also found that close to half of respondents said they worried about finances (46 percent), yet only one-third of Canadians are using an accounting service or professional for support. 

And they don’t have to pay a bunch of money to get accounting help, either. There are many ways that Canadian accountants can provide start-ups with services and existing resources from companies and organizations including: Intuit Quickbooks Canada, Canadian Federation of Independent Business and Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada). 

“No entrepreneur should think they have to do everything themselves,” Elhami said. “Exactly the opposite is true. To succeed, you’re going to need all the help you can get. And there’s probably no one in your business more important than the person who knows how to keep you in the black.”

Look For Loans

Speaking of getting help, entrepreneurs shouldn’t stop with accountants, Elhami said. 

There are now many organizations, both public and private, whose sole mission is to help up-and-coming entrepreneurs find funding so their businesses can thrive. 

The sole purpose of the Canadian Business Growth Fund is to find and invest in early-stage Canadian businesses and the entrepreneurs who founded them. 

According to the group’s website: “I think that if we keep doing this in the form of eight to 10 investments in great entrepreneurs every single year we are going to make an impact and we are going to see a number of companies that become national and international successes.”

There are also funding opportunities available for minorities through government programs like Canada’s Black Entrepreneurship Program, which Mary Ng, the country’s minister of small business, called a “win, win, win.” More than 3,000 Canadians have applied already for loans from $25,000 to $250,000 through the program. 

Thinking Global 

This is the age of information, Maged Elhami said, and that means entrepreneurs must think bigger than ever before. 

The evolution of technology continues to outpace our ability to keep up with it, he said, and the entrepreneurs who see and take advantage of global trends — those are the ones who will succeed. 

“It’s such a new world, and most of us are still struggling to keep up,” Elhami noted. “That’s understandable, but entrepreneurs must be different. They must see farther ahead and believe in big-picture changes.”

And that isn’t something to be scared of, he said. It’s something that should inspire every entrepreneur because it means that the opportunities for success are here for the taking. 

“I think this is such an exciting time, for entrepreneurs everywhere, and especially in Canada,” he said. “I really look forward to seeing where the next generation takes us.” 

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