BMO Bank of Montreal
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BMO Bank of Montreal

February 29, 2012 09:00 ET

BMO Study: 76 Per Cent of Canadians Would Start Own Business

Access to capital, developing a business plan, and finding customers top challenges

- Food and hospitality, retail/services, and arts/entertainment & recreation most favoured sectors

- 52 per cent of Canadians believe access to capital to be the primary challenge to starting their own business

- 86 per cent of potential entrepreneurs say sharing knowledge with other business owners will be important to their success

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 29, 2012) - A new study from BMO Bank of Montreal reveals that the majority of Canadians (76 per cent) have an appetite for entrepreneurship, and 52 per cent of those surveyed identify having access to capital as the most significant barrier to starting their own business. In addition, almost a third of Canadians say that translating ideas into a solid business plan and finding customers are significant hurdles.

"Small and medium-sized businesses are a driving source of innovation and job creation in our economy and despite some challenges in the global economy, the Canadian entrepreneurial spirit appears alive and well," said Cathy Pin, Vice President, Commercial Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal. "In fact, these survey results mirror the conversations that we have every day with business owners and potential owners. They are some of the very reasons why we are making $10 billion available over the next three years, to help entrepreneurs grow and create jobs" added Ms. Pin.

Given the opportunity to open a small business, one in six Canadians would prefer to enter the food and hospitality sector (14 per cent), and a similar proportion would start a business in the arts/entertainment/recreation sectors - a choice that is more popular among Albertans than those living in Manitoba and Saskatchewan (17% vs. 8%). Overall, entrepreneurial Canadians are interested in a diverse array of industries and sectors.

National ATL QC ON MB/SK AB BC
Food & Hospitality 14% 15% 18% 14% 11% 14% 13%
Arts/Entertainment, Recreation 12% 11% 12% 12% 8% 17% 14%
Retail/Service 10% 15% 9% 11% 7% 10% 12%
Business/Professional Services 9% 7% 6% 11% 14% 10% 9%
Health/Social 8% 8% 11% 8% 8% 6% 6%
Information Technology 7% 5% 8% 8% 6% 6% 10%
Skilled Trades/construction 6% 9% 6% 6% 7% 4% 6%
Environmental 4% 5% 4% 4% 2% 4% 5%
Other 4% 2% 3% 4% 5% 5% 4%

According to BMO Economics, small and medium-sized businesses are well positioned to prosper. "While these businesses have a driving need for stronger productivity, they are also operating in a climate of supportive financial conditions, and are arguably better able to capitalize on longer-term demographic trends and the development of digital technologies," said Douglas Porter, Deputy Chief Economist, BMO Capital Markets.

The overwhelming prevalence of the Internet is opening new and exciting avenues for small businesses to market, distribute their products and services, and share information with other business owners in online 'knowledge communities.' The BMO study, conducted by Leger Marketing found that:

  • When starting a new business, the ability to share knowledge is believed to be important by 86 percent of Canadians;
  • Over 80 percent of potential entrepreneurs in Canada also stated that mentors would be valuable were they to start their own enterprise.

At BMO Bank of Montreal, entrepreneurs can find information on all aspects of business ownership at the BMO SmartSteps® for Business Community:

Survey was completed online from January 23-25, 2012, using Leger Marketing's online panel, LegerWeb, with a sample of 1523 Canadians. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/-2.51 per cent 19 times out of 20.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly-diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $538 billion as at January 31, 2012, and more than 47,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.

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