SME and Entrepreneurship Policy in Canada

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SMEs and entrepreneurs make an important contribution to the Canadian economy. SMEs account for 60% of total employment, and Canada performs very well across many measures of small business generation, growth and innovation. However, further increases in productivity in medium-sized firms, an increase in SME exports, a greater business start-up rate and an increased number of high-growth firms could bring substantial benefits for the national economy.

This report identifies several areas where new policy approaches could help achieve these objectives. Framework conditions for small business could be improved in business taxation, public procurement, access to financing and the commercialisation of research. New and extended programmes could be introduced in domains including entrepreneurship education, management advice and consultancy, and workforce skills development. A major effort is recommended to prioritise women's entrepreneurship, including by supporting social enterprises, and federal support could be offered to support the exchange of information on best practice SME regulations and programmes among provinces and territories. All this could be brought together and co-ordinated through the umbrella of a national strategy and a lead agency for SME and entrepreneurship policy.




Executive summary

Small business and entrepreneurship performance is critical to the health of the Canadian economy, accounting for more than one-half of business sector employment. Canada has a vibrant small business sector and healthy attitudes to entrepreneurship. However, there are key challenges in scaling up small businesses, increasing the rate of business dynamism and high-growth firms, and increasing productivity and exporting in established small firms. This report examines the issues and identifies actions that public policy could take. Its proposals include developing a national strategy for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurship and increasing the range of programme interventions in areas such as financing, innovation, internationalisation, entrepreneurship education, management advice, and workforce skills development.


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