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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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The strategic framework and delivery system for SME and entrepreneurship policy in Canada

This chapter assesses the formulation and delivery of SME and entrepreneurship policies and programmes in Canada. It presents the main federal government organisations involved and assesses the process of policy design and delivery. It also offers a simple assessment of the distribution of the SME and entrepreneurship policy portfolio across different types of programmes. The chapter highlights the major roles played by federal government departments, the federal Regional Development Agencies and the Crown Corporations, such as the Business Development Bank of Canada. It points to the lack of a comprehensive SME and entrepreneurship strategy document for Canada, although other mechanisms support policy formulation, including government consultative bodies, independent advisory panels and formal programme consultations. It identifies important cross-government co-operations in policy delivery such as the Canada Business Network’s one-stop business centres and web portal. It also shows that a large share of federal support is provided through tax incentives rather than targeted programmes.

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