The rapid growth Saskatchewan has been experiencing is partly due to the many entrepreneurs in the province, and many of the new businesses popping up are started by young entrepreneurs.

Danica Slattery, 24, the co-owner and co-founder of THRIVE Juice Co. in Saskatoon, says starting a business in Saskatchewan has been beneficial to her company’s success.

“We just saw so much potential and development in Saskatoon right now,” Slattery says. “There’s lots of potential and room for growth.”

According to Statistics Canada, small businesses (fewer than 50 employees), account for over 98 per cent of Saskatchewan’s business enterprises. And, Saskatchewan has the highest per capita count of small business establishments among Canadian provinces.

The two young women behind THRIVE Juice Co. recently were awarded the Young Promising Entrepreneur award at the NSBA (North Saskatoon Business Association) Business Builder Awards after starting their company only four months ago. The recent success has surprised the two women, who don’t come from formal business backgrounds.

“Our five year plan became our one year plan,” Slattery says.

Like THRIVE Juice Co., many of the new businesses started in Saskatchewan by young entrepreneurs are small lifestyle businesses, retail stores and coffee shops, explains Riley Nadoroznick, a board member of SYPE (Saskatchewan Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs) and business development manager with the Canadian Youth Business Foundation. According to Statistics Canada, self-employed youth (15-34 years) accounted for 18.8% of all self-employed people in the province in 2012.
Nadoroznick says although there aren’t as many young entrepreneurs in the province as there were 10 to 15 years ago, those who have started businesses have found success.
“Part of that is because of a booming economy. There are more people here and we can sustain more businesses.”

The reason there are fewer young entrepreneurs than in the past is a good one. Since Saskatchewan’s economy is so strong, people are finding high-paying jobs at young ages, so they don’t feel the need to start a business, explains Nadoroznick. Average weekly wages in Saskatchewan grew 48.9% between 2003 and 2013. He says he sees new graduates in other provinces graduating with debt and no job opportunities and are “forced” to start businesses, but in Saskatchewan that isn’t the case.

But, if you’re considering taking the steps to open a new business in the province, now is the time.

“There are more and more people with higher incomes, and it really is a good time to be starting a business in Saskatchewan,” Nadoroznick says. He adds that Saskatchewan, especially Saskatoon, has great support organizations that are a major help to young business-minded people.

“Statistics definitely show that the more help you get, the more likely you are to succeed,” he says. “The more that we work together and collaborate, the better off these young entrepreneurs are going to be.”

The close-knit entrepreneur community in Saskatoon is something Slattery and her business partner found to be very helpful when starting and running THRIVE Juice Co.

“Everyone that we talk to and ask for advice, everyone’s been super helpful,” she says.

Angelina Irinici is an award-winning journalist from Saskatoon, Sask. She recently moved back to her home city and is working as a television reporter. She is a graduate of Ryerson University’s journalism school. You can find her on Twitter at @angelinairinici.