What is an entrepreneur?

It's someone who identifies a gap in the market and starts a business to fill that gap. It involves taking on risks in the quest for profits.

Success Traits of Entrepreneurs

There's no right or wrong when it comes to what makes a good entrepreneur, but people who are and have been successful at operating a business have identified some common traits:

  • Experience or education that relates to the business
  • Being comfortable with uncertainty
  • Willing to put in long hours
  • Open to change
  • Ability to bounce back from disappointment
  • Confidence
  • Ability to plan and budget


"Student Ludwick Marishane invented a water-less bathing lotion and was named the 2011 Global Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award — all because he didn't feel like taking baths."


  1. Business Trends, Facts and Figures
  2. Is Being an Entrepreneur For Everyone?
  3. The Upside and Downside
  4. Challenges You May Face
  5. Benefits of the WorkBC Cowichan Self-employment Program
  6. What We Provide
  7. Program Timelines
  8. Are You and Your Business Idea Eligible?
  9. What Makes a Good Application?

Business trends, facts and figures

Six Business Trends

  1. Businesses will need to adapt to the modern customer. Customers today have more choices than ever, and they have shown they will gravitate toward those who prioritize the delivery of fast, seamless and personalized service. This is true whether they are ordering lunch or getting their car repaired.
  2. Technology will not replace the human touch.Technology is always improving, and with the latest and greatest tempting every organization, we need to keep in mind that AI and predictive analytics will not replace the human when it comes to delivering the customer experience.
  3. Marketing will continue to grow more personalized. Marketing is becoming increasingly personal, and this trend will continue. In order to succeed, you'll have to provide high-value and personalized content every step of the way.
  4. The Growth of Virtual Marketplaces. E-commerce is growing rapidly in Canada and because of that businesses are increasingly using it to sell their products and services.
  5. The user review will be king. Today, customer reviews influence more than 95 percent of online customers before they decide to purchase. Moreover, more than 90 percent of people step back from buying the things online which do not have any reviews, good or bad.
  6. The Rise of the Data Economy.  Businesses that use insights from data to optimize their operations will become more competitive.

Source: Business News Daily

BC Facts and Figures

  1. Fact: BC is the province with the largest share of it's population owning a startup
  2. Fact: People aged 40 and over represent 73.9% of all the new business start-ups which is more than five times that of individuals aged 39 or under.
  3. Fact: In 2017, self-employed persons accounted for 17.8 per cent of total employment in B.C., well above the Canadian average of 15.2 per cent.
  4. Fact: Over the last five years, B.C. has shown strong self-employment growth. The province’s five-year growth rate of 6.5 per cent was well above the national average (+4.8 per cent).
  5. Fact: Over six in ten (62 per cent) self-employed people in 2017 were 45 years or older, whereas only 40 per cent of employees were in this age group. Similarly, while just 16 per cent of self-employed business owners were under the age of 35, around 40 per cent of employees fit this description.
  6. Fact: From 2012 to 2017, the growth in self-employment among men (+4.9 per cent) in B.C. was around one half that of women (+9.1 per cent). The increase was particularly evident among women over 55 years of age. In fact, the number of self-employed women aged 55 to 64 jumped 17.6 per cent over the five year period, while those aged 65 and over surged 42.1 per cent.

Source: Small Business Profile 2018

Is being an entrepreneur for everyone?

It's not always glamorous. Sometimes it's a slow grind with no instant gratification.

There's no easy escalator to success or accidental million dollar start-ups.

It's more of a slow, steady climb that involves doing what it takes to accomplish one small goal that leads to another.

Sometimes that involves hard work, dedication, opportunity and the dedication to keep going when things aren't working out like you initially thought they would.

Think of it as more of a 24/7 career than a 9-5 job.

The Upside

  • Flexibility to create your own schedule and plan around important commitments such as family
  • Control over your decisions and the ability to chart your path
  • Freedom to chase your dreams and follow your passions
  • The chance to challenge yourself and discover and utilize skills and traits you never knew you had
  • The opportunity to create a good living for yourself and the pride that goes along with that

The Downside

  • Long hours with sometimes less than expected financial rewards
  • Because your life is filled with unknowns, it can be hard to plan for the future
  • Say goodbye to employer paid vacations, health plans and vacations
  • It can be harder to get a loan or mortgage when you work for yourself
  • It can be emotionally and physically draining to be the one responsible for everything and sometimes that can feel isolating


Depending on your business type and situation, these are some of the challenges you may face:

  • The costs involved with starting and operating your business
  • Acquiring financing to cover those costs
  • Finding a space from which to operate
  • Accessing good employees
  • Getting enough customers to make your business financially viable

Can you think of any others specific to your business?

Interesting Stats

A survey indicated that :

  • 65% of Canadians are interested in starting a business
  • Only 13% of them actually do
  • 80% of small businesses aren't successful within the first 5 years. It's not from lack of trying as most entrepreneurs have expertise in their field
  • 40% of those surveyed cited lack of knowledge as a barrier to starting a business
  • 35% surveyed felt that having a mentor was required to be a successful entrepreneur

What if you could have the information, training and help you needed?

Our self-employment services can help you achieve your business goals

We have decades of experience in the trials and tribulations of starting and maintaining businesses.

We offer real world mentoring through multi-generational experience in numerous industries.

Our blended learning program meets you at your place and level.

We provide you with:

  • A foundation for success in self-employment
  • Entrepreneurial assessments
  • Boot camps to help you develop your business concept and business plan
  • Feedback on your business concept and assistance with developing a business plan
  • Weekly business coaching to assist you with business development
  • A schedule of core online entrepreneurial skills training that includes topics such as bookkeeping, sales, marketing, social media and presentations
  • Online learning materials including workshops that cover a variety of topics such as 'relationship selling', 'cloud accounting', 'forecasting and cash flow tricks', and 'working on/in your business'
  • Specialized entrepreneurial skills training where requested and warranted
  • Referrals to networking, training and other resources
  • A weekly living allowance to help you cover household expenses while your business gets up and running (not all applicants will qualify for this)

Timelines for the program


  1. If applicable, your WorkBC Employment Counsellor will have you complete three entrepreneurial assessments after which you'll be referred to the Program for an in person or virtual orientation
  2. At the end of the orientation you'll receive an application to complete
  3. If your application is accepted you will start on Phase 1 of the Program

Phase 1-Business Plan Development (10 weeks):

  1. Workshops on business concept and business plan development
  2. Business coaching
  3. Business plan writing
  4. If your completed business plan is accepted you will move onto Phase 2 of the Program

Phase 2-Launching and Operating Your Business (24 weeks):

  1. Workshops
  2. Business coaching and mentoring
  3. At the end of the 24 weeks a review of how your business is progressing will be completed after which you may get an additional 14 weeks of Phase 2 supports


To be eligible for WorkBC Cowichan SE Services you must be:

  • Working with an Employment Counsellor at your local WorkBC location (Duncan, Ladysmith, Lake Cowichan or Virtual)
  • Unemployed (includes those working 20 hours or less per week for the last 12 weeks)
  • On an active EI claim or
  • Unemployed with a EI benefit period that ended within the previous 60 months or
  • Paid EI premiums in at least 5 of the previous 10 calendar years (earned more than $2000 per year for 5 of those years) or
  • A BCEA PWD or PPMB client (must also qualify or be eligible for the Ministry's SE Program of business deductions and exemptions) or
  • A general client with a disability
  • Dedicated to working full time (35 hours per week) while participating in the Program (some exceptions may apply)

To be eligible for WorkBC Cowichan SE Services your business must be:

  • A new business (you have not been advertising or conducting business transactions)
  • You can purchase an existing business in which you had no prior business ownership
  • A business that won't result in putting another individual out of business
  • An appropriate use of public funding
  • Not entirely or partially based on commissions
  • Independent and not based on a parent company e.g real estate broker

What makes a good application for SE Services?

  • You have some experience with this type of business
  • You have the money or access to the money you need to start your business
  • You are motivated to succeed and ready to put in the hard work and hours required to do so

WorkBC is here to help you achieve your employment goals!

Please connect with us to learn more about this exciting program along with other services that might benefit you on your employment journey.

We're looking forward to hearing from you!



Duncan: 250-748-9880

Ladysmith: 250-924-2884

Lake Cowichan: 250-749-6822


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