A new survey released by accounting, payroll and payment company Sage finds Canadian SMEs are largely unaware of government initiatives that could help their businesses.
Sage released the new report Monday (June 26) at its Sage Summit Toronto 2017 event. According to the analysis, 85 percent of SME respondents say they are optimistic about the future of their own companies, while 74 percent said the same about the future of SMEs across Canada overall.
But businesses have a different outlook when it comes to government regulations.
Researchers found that 51 percent said there are too many regulations and taxes, and that this poses their most common daily challenge in running a business. Nearly a third say there is a general lack of support from the federal government.
They may perceive a lack of support, but Sage’s report suggests they may be missing out on valuable information. Nearly three-quarters of respondents said they knew little or nothing about government efforts that could help small businesses. But that doesn’t mean small business owners are out-of-touch with the worlds around them: 70 percent said SMEs are more likely than larger corporations to serve their local communities, while three-quarters agree that companies play a role in contributing to the broader reputation of Canada.
Forty-three percent agreed SMEs make Canada a better place to live, and more than half said both large and small businesses equally contribute to bettering the country.
“Canadian business builders are tenacious and proud,” said Sage Canada EVP and Managing Director Paul Struthers in a statement. “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.”
But Sage's report made clear that SMEs feel they are lacking government support. There are other factors holding them back, too, the report found, with nearly half citing the challenge faced when seeking new customers as a top concern. Further, 39 percent said administrative tasks are a significant challenge to running their business, while 18 percent said they would like easier access to financing.
“It is encouraging to hear that Canadian business builders are feeling much more optimistic than last year when we conducted our global survey,” said Sage Group SEO Stephen Kelly in a statement. “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 small businesses are heard at the highest levels.”