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The Conference Board of Canada’s Glen Hodgson argues for a small-business support policy that targets innovative businesses such as Passau Hockey Inc. of Chambly, Que., that makes high-end, handcrafted hockey equipment for elite players, with customers primarily in North America and small markets in Europe and Asia.
The Conference Board of Canada’s Glen Hodgson argues for a small-business support policy that targets innovative businesses such as Passau Hockey Inc. of Chambly, Que., that makes high-end, handcrafted hockey equipment for elite players, with customers primarily in North America and small markets in Europe and Asia.
(CHRISTINNE MUSCHI FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

GLEN HODGSON

Governments need a surgical approach for helping small business

Most governments in Canada, if not all, hold small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in high esteem. SMEs are regularly touted as the source of job growth in the economy. Governments and their political opposition go out of their way to demonstrate their support for small business.

The problem is, the myth does not always conveniently align with the facts about the role that SMEs actually play in the economy. We have to consider the possibility that some public policy initiatives in support of SMEs may be squandering scarce public dollars, creating barriers to growth and success for many small businesses, and quite inadvertently, helping to ensure that they stay small. Rather than relying upon firm size, it’s time to refocus public policy on firms with a high potential to grow and innovate – what we will call “growth-oriented enterprises” or GOEs.