Pro­duc­tiv­ity a big is­sue for small firms

BDC chief economist to ad­dress Ot­tawa en­trepreneurs at Oct. 20 Eggs n’ Icons break­fast event

Ottawa Business Journal - - SPECIAL REPORT | SMALL BUSINESS WEEK - BY DAVID SALI david@obj.ca

With nearly 98 per cent of Cana­dian busi­nesses em­ploy­ing fewer than 100 peo­ple, it’s not hard to see why SMEs are the driv­ing force be­hind the econ­omy, con­tribut­ing more than half of the coun­try’s gross do­mes­tic prod­uct.

The Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment Bank of Canada is once again rec­og­niz­ing these busi­nesses’ vi­tal con­tri­bu­tions to eco­nomic growth dur­ing Small Busi­ness Week, which runs from Oct. 16-22.

Through­out the week, BDC is host­ing a se­ries of events across Canada to pro­mote the im­por­tance of small busi­nesses and their ac­com­plish­ments, in­clud­ing an ap­pear­ance by the bank’s chief economist, Pierre Cler­oux, at the next Eggs n’ Icons break­fast on Oct. 20.

A joint ini­tia­tive of the Ot­tawa Busi­ness Jour­nal and the Ot­tawa Cham­ber of Com­merce, the event will tackle a topic on ev­ery en­trepreneur’s mind: Pro­duc­tiv­ity.

“We’ve been look­ing for an op­por­tu­nity to work with BDC on its Small Busi­ness Week ini­tia­tive,” said OBJ pub­lisher Michael Cur­ran. “This is a great start. I’m par­tic­u­larly look­ing for­ward to BDC’s chief economist, Pierre Cler­oux, who is speak­ing about boost­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity to un­leash growth in com­pa­nies.”

Ac­cord­ing the Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Eco­nomic Co-op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment, Canada’s labour pro­duc­tiv­ity growth rate dropped to an av­er­age of 0.9 per cent be­tween 2004 and 2014, com­pared with an av­er­age of 1.4 per cent be­tween 1996 and 2004.

Mr. Cler­oux will dis­cuss the role of in­di­vid­ual en­trepreneurs in ad­dress­ing Canada’s grow­ing de­cline in pro­duc­tiv­ity. He will also look at how fall­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity is im­pact­ing SMEs’ abil­ity to com­pete on the world stage and what Canada’s most suc­cess­ful busi­ness­peo­ple are do­ing to buck the trend.

The au­di­ence will also hear the re­sults of a com­pre­hen­sive study on the pro­duc­tiv­ity of 1,500 Cana­dian busi­ness own­ers con­ducted by BDC. In ad­di­tion, the bank will talk about a new busi­ness pro­duc­tiv­ity bench­mark­ing tool it is launch­ing later this fall.

Fol­low­ing break­fast, On­tario Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent and CEO Al­lan O’Dette will com­ment on a new re­port on the province’s SMEs that is be­ing re­leased as part of Small Busi­ness Week.

Fed­eral Minister of Small Busi­ness and Tourism Bardish Chag­ger is also slated to speak, while a panel of local en­trepreneurs that in­cludes Can­vasPop co-founder Nazim Ahmed, Arm­strong Mon­i­tor­ing pres­i­dent Joanne John­son and Ver­sa­t­ure chief oper­at­ing of­fi­cer Jonathon Moody will dis­cuss is­sues re­lat­ing to pro­duc­tiv­ity and small busi­ness.

“Small and medium en­ter­prises are vi­tal for Ot­tawa’s vi­brant econ­omy, and out­side the govern­ment, they are the big­gest em­ploy­ers,” said Ian Faris, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Ot­tawa Cham­ber of Com­merce. “We are not only com­mit­ted to advocate, con­nect and sup­port our SMEs, but also ex­plore in­no­va­tive ways to cre­ate new en­trepreneurs, and this fo­rum is all about that.”

For tick­ets and more in­for­ma­tion, go to ot­tawacham­ber.ca.

BDC’s Pierre Cler­oux.

PHOTO COUR­TESY BDC

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