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Karen and Daryl Diamond, owners of Diamond Retirement Planning, in their offices in Winnipeg April 30, 2008. (John Woods For The Globe and Mail)
Karen and Daryl Diamond, owners of Diamond Retirement Planning, in their offices in Winnipeg April 30, 2008. (John Woods For The Globe and Mail)

Small Business Briefing

What small business looks like in 2012 Add to ...

The latest news and information for entrepreneurs from across the web universe, brought to you by theReport on Small Businessteam. Follow us on Twitter@GlobeSmallBiz.

Exporters are more innovative

TD Economics has released its annual report on Canada’s small and medium-sized business owners, Diverse Society in a Microcosm. Here’s a snapshot of some of the key findings:

  • In 2007, 45 per cent of owners were 50 to 64 years of age, and another 13 per cent were over 65. From 2007 to 2012, and given recent population trends, the estimation is 29 per cent of entrepreneurs will retire by 2020.
  • About 47 per cent of small businesses are owned or partly owned by women, though wholly owned is only 16 per cent. These figures, however, are on an upward swing.
  • Entrepreneurs under 30 tend to be more involved in knowledge-based industries. They are likely better able to exploit technology in a business setting.
  • Visible minorities with majority stakes represent about 10 per cent of small businesses, which is a small proportion relative to the overall population. But their share is expected to increase as aging demographics kick in and immigration numbers rise.
  • British Columbia has the highest startup activity in Canada, with Alberta a close second. The two provinces also have the greatest percentage of businesses with five employees or less.
  • Export-based economies and trade links dependent on the United States led to Ontario and Quebec getting hardest hit by the economic downturn.
  • That said, exporters are, on average, more innovative, spending a larger proportion of their their budgets on R&D. They also have longevity: 75 per cent have been in business for more than six years.

And now, you’re armed with facts and figures to toss around during Small Business Week, which begins Oct. 15. BDC has a list of events and other activities on its website.

Value on the rise

A new BMO study finds that 60 per cent of small-business owners in Canada say their companies have boosted their value in the past five years. What gives them the most personal satisfaction? The sense of challenge and accomplishment their businesses provide (24 per cent), income and family legacy (23 per cent), and career independence (21 per cent). “Canadian businesses are continually increasing in value: not only in an everyday, tangible sense, but in what the business brings to the entire family,” Steve Murphy, senior vice-president of commercial banking at BMO says in a press release. The survey was conducted by Pollara from Aug. 13 to Sept. 5, using a random sample of 500 Canadian business owners. Results are accurate to plus or minus 4.4 per cent, 19 times out of 20.


Chat with Arlene Dickinson

Scotiabank is hosting an online town hall with Arlene Dickinson on Oct. 15. Ms. Dickinson is described as “one of Canada's foremost entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, business leaders and television personalities,” and the bank has tapped her as one of its “Scotiabank Business Champions.” To register for the town hall, visit this page.

Small Business Week events

Conferences, seminars, information session, luncheons, trade fairs, the 2012 Small Business Week will see a number of events taking place across the country, spearheaded by BDC. To find out what’s happening in your area, check the listings on the BDC website.


Not just about snowboards any more

Shopify came about after Tobias Lütke and a partner started an online snowboard shop out of his garage in 2004. When they wanted to set up a shopping cart for the site, Mr. Lütke didn’t like what was on the market, so he wrote his own code – and soon realized the real business was in selling the software he’d created for himself. By 2006, Shopify was formally launched. The company is now an e-commerce platform that other companies use to create their own online stores. And Shopify is this month’s Report on Small Business success story.


No more door-to-door

Trevor Doerksen shot a snowboarding film in 1989, but his distributor went out of business. So, Mr. Doerksen had to distribute his film himself. He walked door to door selling his VHS videos to Blockbuster, Canadian Tire and drugstores. And he sold a lot of them. He still brings video to the masses. He just doesn't do much walking to do it. Find out more in this story from April, 2011.

Got a tip on news, events or other timely information related to the small-business community? E-mail us at smallbusiness@globeandmail.com.Join The Globe’s Small Business LinkedIn group to network with other entrepreneurs and to discuss topical issues: http://linkd.in/jWWdzT

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