Industry Canada

Industry Canada

October 19, 2009 17:37 ET

Minister of State Ablonczy Celebrates Small Business Week 2009

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 19, 2009) - Today, the Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism), issued the following statement to launch Small Business Week 2009 in Canada:

"For the past 30 years, Small Business Week has provided an opportunity to acknowledge and to celebrate the enormous contribution that small businesses make to Canada's economy. Small businesses are key economic drivers that represent 98 percent of all businesses in our country. Even in recent recessionary times, small and medium-sized enterprises outperformed the rest of the economy. They have truly been the unsung heroes that have kept Canada in an enviable position.

"As the Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism) and as a former business owner myself, I would like to extend my appreciation to all Canadian entrepreneurs who have turned challenges into opportunities and provided great economic stability to our country.

"The Government of Canada is committed to helping small businesses continue to grow, succeed and stay competitive in the face of today's challenges. Canada's Economic Action Plan is delivering initiatives to help ensure that small businesses have all the tools they need to lead Canada into the recovery. By lowering taxes, increasing access to financing and cutting red tape, we are helping small and medium-sized enterprises come out stronger than ever.

"Canada has such a rich history of influential and successful entrepreneurs - from railway mogul Sir William Mackenzie to coffee giant Tim Horton - their contributions have had an incredible impact on both the economy and the lives of Canadians.

"During Small Business Week, let's celebrate the success of our small businesses and their great contribution to our regions and our country."


Small Business Week: Celebrating and Supporting Small Businesses

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the foundation of the economy, as they account for 98 percent of all businesses in Canada. As of 2008, SMEs employed approximately 5 million Canadians. A quarter of Canada's gross domestic product is provided by small businesses with fewer than 50 employees, and this amount has been increasing.

Industry Canada defines small businesses as having fewer than 100 employees, while medium-sized businesses consist of 100 to 499 employees. Canada has one of the highest rates of small businesses entering the marketplace among industrialized countries - approximately 130 000 new small businesses are created annually. SMEs created 70 000 jobs and employed 48 percent of the labour force in 2008. In the same year, small business employees in Canada earned around $735 per week.

The survival rate for small businesses in Canada is strong. About 96 percent of small businesses in Canada survive for one full year after they enter the marketplace, 85 percent survive for three years and 70 percent survive for five years. Three quarters of SMEs operate in the service industries, while one quarter is in the goods-producing sector.

SMEs encourage expansion and prosperity of the Canadian economy and have helped secure a more stable position for Canada in the economic recession. These enterprises extend Canadian international trade, as they account for 20 percent of the total value of Canada's exports.

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting small businesses and has established programs and services to stimulate economic growth, create more jobs for Canadians and help businesses compete and succeed in the global marketplace.

Access to Financing

In the current economic conditions, one of the greatest concerns for business is access to credit.

The Canada Small Business Financing Program (CSBF) makes it easier for businesses to obtain loans from financial institutions by sharing the risk with lenders. Annually, the CSBF delivers approximately $1 billion in financing through thousands of loans that support start-up businesses and help established enterprises improve and expand. As part of Canada's Economic Action Plan, the program's maximum loan amount was increased from $250 000 to $350 000. And for real estate, the maximum loan size was raised to $500 000. These measures support SMEs in Canada and, in so doing, stimulate economic growth and create jobs for Canadians.

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) provides 28 000 clients across Canada with complementary financing, venture capital, and consulting and financial services exclusively for SMEs. In this capacity, the BDC plays a key role in creating the right conditions in which SMEs can grow and prosper. Current market developments have increased the demand for BDC financing and other services. The government has responded by putting in place a number of measures to improve access to financing.

Young entrepreneurs are the future of Canadian business. Canada's Economic Action Plan provided the Canadian Youth Business Foundation with $10 million to give young entrepreneurs access to business loans and mentoring services to help them start up and operate new businesses. Since its creation in 1996, the Canadian Youth Business Foundation has helped more than 2800 new entrepreneurs. Their businesses have generated more than $300 million in sales revenues in this country and have created more than 15 000 new jobs.

The Small Business Internship Program (SBIP) allows SMEs to hire qualified student interns to assist with e-business and communications projects by reimbursing up to 75 percent of the students' wage and benefit expenses. At the same time, the SBIP offers promising post-secondary students valuable, hands-on job experience working on e-business and information technology projects under the guidance of entrepreneurs. Student interns gain an appreciation of entrepreneurship and the opportunity to explore career possibilities while making money to continue their education.

Tax Relief

The Government of Canada is providing tax relief measures to help SMEs invest more earnings in development and expansion, which helps to create more jobs. Canada's Economic Action Plan has raised the amount of business income eligible for the small business tax rate of 11 percent to $500 000 from $400 000, and Employment Insurance premium rates will remain frozen at the 2009 levels.

Business Services

The Canada Business Network (CBN) consolidates business resources into one convenient service, providing a single point of access to relevant information from multi-levels of government and not-for-profit organizations to aid in the start-up and growth of small businesses. Renewed funding for CBN - $30 million over two years - ensures continuation of this valuable resource and enhanced service, including the new national CBN website. The renewed funding means that small businesses in Canada will have continued support from the CBN and enhanced service including:

- more emphasis placed on the needs of existing small businesses to help them survive their critical first three years and to continue to grow their businesses

- an improved national website that:

- provides new content and higher-value customized services to address the
priorities of small business owners

- allows clients to personalize the information they access - by industry,
geographic location, topic of interest and their stage within the
business lifecycle

Another time-saving service for business is BizPaL, which offers entrepreneurs and businesses simplified access to permit and license information from multiple levels of government. To date, 11 provinces and territories are participating in BizPaL, along with more than 330 municipalities. BizPaL is convenient and efficient and helps reduce the paperwork burden faced by Canadian SMEs.

SMEs are the backbone of the Canadian economy. The government is working closely with entrepreneurs and business owners to strengthen this foundation and make Canada an innovative and competitive leader on the global stage.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Diane Ablonczy
    Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism)
    Catherine Godbout
    Industry Canada
    Media Relations