Alberta is the most entrepreneurial province in Canada with the rate of entrepreneurship in Alberta 50 per cent higher than the national average, according to a new report.

The 2013 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Alberta Report – issued by the Calgary-based Centre for Innovation Studies – found that most entrepreneurship focuses on business-to-business services.

The key indicator, total early stage entrepreneurship (TEA) which comprises people in active stages of preparing new ventures and those with new ventures under three-and-a-half years old, is 18.6 per cent for Alberta and 12.2 per cent nationally.

“Entrepreneurs are innovators who fuel economic growth,” said Peter Josty, executive director of The Centre for Innovation Studies and Leader of the GEM Canada team. “(The) report shows that Alberta is an exceptionally entrepreneurial place.”

He said the $64,000 question is why Alberta is so far ahead of other provinces.

“In some ways, the number is higher than you would expect,” said Josty. “There’s a lot of research gone on in this area and it generally shows that the higher the rate of unemployment the higher the rate of entrepreneurship. So places with low unemployment, like Alberta, should have low entrepreneurship. But we don’t.”

But Josty said it’s a well-known fact that Alberta has a very entrepreneurial culture.

He also said there seems to be a broad correlation between the richer and wealthier a jurisdiction is the higher the amount of entrepreneurship it has.

Alberta’s economy is also robust at the moment and is forecast to be a nation leader for the next two years by several economic forecasts.

“One of the things we measure in this report is people’s fear of failure and that was really low in Alberta,” said Josty. “The fact that the economy is bubbling along makes people have this sense of confidence. They think they’re invincible. They want to start to something.”

Josty said Alberta’s strong resource sector drives much of the entrepreneurship in the province.

The Alberta report also found that: holders of post-secondary degrees exhibit the highest rate of entrepreneurship; the age group that is most entrepreneurial is the 35-44 age group, followed closely by the 25-34 and 18-24 age group; the rate of female entrepreneurship is the highest in Canada; and manufacturing is the second most common type of entrepreneurship, after business to business services, followed by consumer services.

In a statement, Alberta Premier Dave Hancock said the report “confirms what we have known for a long time – Albertans truly do have an entrepreneurial spirit and Alberta is one of the best places on Earth to be an entrepreneur.”

“The study shows that Alberta has the highest level of entrepreneurship in Canada and is ranked far above the G7 country average. Alberta also has a high level of female entrepreneurs,” said Hancock.

“We have been meeting with Alberta’s entrepreneur community and working to develop a small business strategy which will include action on enhancing and accelerating entrepreneurship. We do this because we know that successful entrepreneurs and high-growth ventures are the foundation to innovation, job creation, economic diversification and quality of life. Entrepreneurs are key to keeping Alberta’s economic engine running strong so we can continue to lead for generations to come.”

Mario Toneguzzi, The Calgary Herald