A first for a Québec financial institution: Solidarity Fund QFL launches the SME Confidence Index - First reading: 51 out of 100



    
    ------------   ------------   ------------   ------------   ------------
    ------------   ------------   ------------   ------------   ------------
        0-20         21 to 40       41 to 60       61 to 80       81 to 100
     Extremely     Pessimistic       Worried       Somewhat         Very
    pessimistic                                   optimistic     optimistic

                           Breakdown by SME Owner

        11%            20%             33%            34%             4%
    

    MONTREAL, Feb. 11 /CNW Telbec/ - An expert in SME development and growth
issues, the Solidarity Fund QFL (the "Fund"), in collaboration with the
research firm Léger Marketing, is launching a first for a Québec financial
institution: the SME Confidence Index - Solidarity Fund QFL.
    The index will be published six times a year in the Affaires section of
the La Presse daily as well as in other publication. The index is based on a
survey of SME owners' perception of the current economic situation, expected
performance of their business, capital spending plans over the next 12 months,
hiring intentions, and access to financing.
    "The Fund has been a first-rate partner of Québec SMEs for over 25 years,
offering them both human and patient capital. This metric will allow us to
keep tabs on the mood of Québec business owners, giving us an insight into
their optimism and concerns. This index is especially useful during these
tough economic times, providing us with a more global view of their frame of
mind," said the Fund's chief executive, Yvon Bolduc.
    "On a scale of 0 to 100, this first reading of 51 indicates a fair amount
of anxiety, mostly due to the tight credit market and the fact that few
entrepreneurs are optimistic about the future of Québec SMEs. It takes
tremendous determination and ingenuity to be in business today. Indeed, some
firms are using this downturn as an opportunity to upgrade their equipment, to
make acquisitions, to scout for new markets and to develop new products. I
commend their resilience and reiterate the Fund's commitment to being there
for them over the long term," added Mr. Bolduc.
    According to Jean-Marc Léger, president of Léger marketing, "This
one-of-a-kind index reflects the reality of SMEs during this recession. It
shows an entrepreneurial elite trapped in a paradox. On the one hand, business
owners want to be optimistic and are trying to be positive but only 38% fall
into the over 60 confidence bracket. On the other hand, they're coming to
grips with reality, with 31% falling into the under 40 bracket. This means
that one third of Québec SME owners are pessimistic, but we have yet to feel
the full brunt of the recession."

    
    Summary of Results(1) - February 2009

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                            Very    Somewhat    Pessi-       Very    Neutral
                           Opti-       Opti-    mistic     Pessi-
                          mistic      mistic               mistic
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Short-term outlook
     for SMEs in general      5%         56%       31%         7%         2%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                            Very    Somewhat    Pessi-       Very    Neutral
                           Opti-       Opti-    mistic     Pessi-
                          mistic      mistic               mistic
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Short-term outlook
     for your business       28%         55%       15%         3%         1%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                          Strong        Some      Some      Heavy         No
                          Hiring      Hiring   Layoffs    Layoffs     Change
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hiring plans for the
     next 12 months           6%         39%       14%         2%        38%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                             Yes                    No                 Don't
                                                                        Know
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Capital spending
     projects                59%                   32%                    9%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Easier Harder Same
    Access to financing       3%                   49%                   40%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Main Issues for SMEs (multiple answers permitted)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Operating costs          53%
    ---------------------------------
    Recruitment              44%
    ---------------------------------
    Access and cost of
     financing               35%
    ---------------------------------
    U.S. protectionism       18%
    ---------------------------------
    Competition from
     emerging countries      15%
    ---------------------------------
    Cost of raw materials    12%
    ---------------------------------
    

    The complete SME Confidence Index can be viewed on the Fund's Web site at
www.fondsftq.com. The next Index will be published in April.
    Methodology - The survey was conducted between January 29 and February 8,
2009 among 200 representative Québec SMEs. The businesses ranged in size from
10 to 499 employees and generate sales of $5 million and up. Five questions
make up the index, whose maximum score is 100. A reading of 0-20 indicates
extreme pessimism, 21-40 means a worrisome situation, 41-60 reflects some
concern, 61-80 indicates cautious optimism, and 81-100 means a high degree of
optimism.

    About the Solidarity Fund QFL

    With net assets of $6.2 billion as at November 30, 2008, the Solidarity
Fund QFL is a development capital company that through its RRSP channels the
savings of Quebecers into investments in all sectors of the economy to help
create and maintain jobs and to further Québec's economic growth. The Fund is
a partner, either directly or through its network members, in 1,881 companies.
It currently has nearly 575,000 shareholders and has helped, on its own or
with other financial partners, to create, maintain and protect over 126,000
jobs. For more information, visit www.fondsftq.com.


    
    (1) Due to rounding and/or some unanswered questions, figures do not
        necessarily add up to 100%.
    




For further information:

For further information: Note: The telephone number provided below is
for the exclusive use of journalists and other media representatives: Josée
Lagacé, Senior Advisor, Press Relations and Communications, Fonds de
solidarité FTQ, (514) 850-4835, jlagace@fondsftq.com


Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890