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SME and Entrepreneurship Policy in Canada

image of SME and Entrepreneurship Policy in Canada

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.

 

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SME and entrepreneurship characteristics and performance in Canada

This chapter describes the structure and performance of SME and entrepreneurship activity in Canada. It presents information on numbers of enterprises and employment by enterprise size class and the productivity of SMEs in Canada. It examines the proportions of high-growth firms and gazelles in the business population, rates of R&D and innovation in SMEs and the level of SME exporting in Canada. It also presents evidence on entrepreneurial attitudes and the rate of early-stage entrepreneurial activity in the Canadian population, and indicators of business demography covering business entry and exit rates. It points to the importance of small business to employment, a relatively large productivity gap between small and large firms, rates of high-growth firms and gazelles that lag the leading countries and relatively low business entry-exit dynamism. It shows that a high proportion of Canadian SMEs engage in innovation-related activities but Canadian SMEs are not very active in international markets.

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