Canadian small businesses are optimistic about their future but weary of government regulations

In a recent study conducted of small business owners across Canada, nearly three-quarters (72%) of small business owners are unaware of supportive government initiatives and only a quarter find them helpful.

TORONTO, (June 26, 2017)Sage, the market leader for integrated accounting, payroll and payment systems, released new data about the psyche of Canadian small businesses at the Sage Summit Toronto 2017. The survey provides a comprehensive overview of the outlook, concerns, and beliefs shared by small business owners in Canada as the country heads toward Canada’s 150th celebration.

The majority (85%) are optimistic about the future of their business, and two-thirds (74%) are generally optimistic about the future of small businesses in Canada. However, more than half (51%) cite too many government regulations and/or taxes as the most common day-to-day challenge that their business faces, and one-third (32%) note that there is a general lack of support from the government.

Lack of awareness about government programs targeting small businesses might be the biggest hurdle. In fact, nearly three-quarters (72%) say they know very little or nothing about the federal or provincial government’s initiatives to aid small businesses. Only one-quarter of entrepreneurs surveyed find federal (26%) or provincial (25%) government initiatives to be helpful to their businesses.

“It is encouraging to hear that Canadian business builders are feeling much more optimistic than last year when we conducted our global survey,” said Stephen Kelly, CEO of Sage Group. “As a champion for our customers, those business builders that power all economies around the world, we are working with governments and local business communities to make sure Canadian small businesses are heard at the highest levels.”

Additional key findings of the survey include:

Canadian entrepreneurs are dedicated to serving their local communities and contributing to Canada:

  • 70 percent agree Canadian small businesses are more likely than large businesses to serve their local community.
  • Three quarters say either small business in Canada (26%) or both small and large businesses (50%) are likely to contribute to Canada’s reputation. Respondents are equally likely to say that small businesses (41%) or both small and large businesses (43%) provide innovation for their consumers.
  • 43 percent believe small businesses make Canada a better place to live and 52 percent say both large and small businesses equally make Canada better.

Aside from government regulations, small businesses continue to face challenges in three areas:

  • 45 percent find it challenging to seek new customers.
  • 39 percent say they would get rid of the administrative headaches of running a small business.
  • 18 percent want easier financing.

Despite the challenges and risks Canadian small businesses owners face, they still believe in their chosen career path:

  • 85 percent say if they had to do it over again, they would still opt to open a small business.

“Canadian business builders are tenacious and proud. said Paul Struthers, EVP and Managing Director, Sage Canada. “They are working tirelessly to serve their communities and bring unique services to their customers. Our responsibility as a global leader is to do everything we can to minimize or eliminate their administrative headaches so that they can focus on what they love and do best.”

Survey Methodology: Sage Canada partnered with Maru/Matchbox from June 12 - June 15, 2017 to conduct an online survey of 505 small business owners across Canada. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 4.36%, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.


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Betty Tian
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About Sage

Sage is the market leader for integrated accounting, payroll and payment systems, supporting the ambition of the world’s entrepreneurs. Sage began as a small business in the United Kingdom over 30 years ago and employs over 13,000 colleagues to support millions of entrepreneurs across 24 countries as they power the global economy. We reinvent and simplify business accounting through brilliant technology, working with a thriving community of entrepreneurs, business owners, tradespeople, accountants, partners and developers. And as a FTSE 100 business, we are active in supporting our local communities and invest in making a real difference through the philanthropy of the Sage Foundation.

Sage – the market leader for integrated accounting, payroll and payment systems, supporting the ambition of the world’s entrepreneurs.

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