Seventy-six per cent of Canadians would start their own business, according to the survey. But more than half of all Canadians (52 per cent) identify having access to capital as the most significant barrier to starting their own business. In addition, almost one-third of Canadians say that translating ideas into a solid business plan and finding customers are significant hurdles.
"Small and medium-sized businesses are a driving source of innovation and job creation in our economy and despite some challenges in the global economy, the Canadian entrepreneurial spirit appears alive and well," said Cathy Pin, vice-president of commercial banking for BMO Bank of Montreal.
"In fact, these survey results mirror the conversations that we have every day with business owners and potential owners. They are some of the very reasons why we are making $10 billion available over the next three years, to help entrepreneurs grow and create jobs" added Pin.
Given the opportunity to open a small business, one in six Canadians would prefer to enter the food and hospitality sector (14 per cent), and a similar proportion would start a business in the arts/entertainment/recreation sectors - a choice that is more popular among Albertans than those living in Manitoba and Saskatchewan (17 per cent versus eight per cent). Overall, entrepreneurial Canadians are interested in a diverse array of industries and sectors.
Quebecers (15 per cent) are most interested in opening a business in the retail or service industries; residents of Saskatchewan are the least interested, with just seven per cent mentioning these sectors.
The overwhelming prevalence of the Internet is opening new and exciting avenues for small businesses to market, distribute their products and services, and share information with other business owners in online knowledge communities. The BMO study, conducted by Leger Marketing, found that:
- When starting a new business, the ability to share knowledge is believed to be important by 86 per cent of Canadians
- Over 80 per cent of potential entrepreneurs in Canada also stated that mentors would be valuable were they to start their own enterprise