Alberta's small businesses most optimistic, least globally competitive



    SMBs in Alberta, B.C., Ontario Perceived as Most Competitive

    MISSISSAUGA, ON, Oct. 3 /CNW/ - Alberta's booming energy sector is
pushing small and medium-sized business owners (SMBs) in the country's fastest
growing province into a state of complacency, shows a recent study on Canadian
business leaders.
    According to the UPS Business Monitor(TM) Canada, a UPS-commissioned
survey of small and medium-sized business decision makers, entrepreneurs in
Alberta are far behind their competitors - particularly in neighbouring
British Columbia - in the international selling and sourcing of goods.
    While one-third of SMBs in B.C. currently source abroad and 26 per cent
sell beyond domestic borders, only seven per cent and eight per cent
respectively of Alberta's small business owners engage in cross-border or
international trade.
    "Alberta's entrepreneurial drive to grow beyond our borders has softened
in the face of the skyrocketing loonie, our economic prosperity and a
veritable boom in the province," said Mike Tierney, President of UPS Canada.
"International sourcing and selling is a business strategy that many provinces
have benefited from. Given their current economic position, Alberta SMBs have
a unique opportunity to capitalize on global trade."
    Nevertheless, Alberta's small business owners remain the envy of all
their peers throughout Canada, 46 per cent of which believe SMBs in the oil
heartland to be more competitive than businesses in their own province.
    Yet, according to Tierney, relying solely on the regional boom sweeping
the prairies will be to the detriment of Alberta's SMBs long-term growth
prospects.
    "While many Canadian SMBs admire the competitiveness of their Albertan
counterparts, what many fail to realize is that the province's booming energy
sector is forcing its small businesses to fall into regional complacency," he
said. "In light of the labour shortages and other challenges that have
resulted from the economic ascent, Alberta should incorporate international
trade to offset its domestic focus."


    
                             Quick Regional Facts
                             --------------------

    -  62 per cent of Albertans see their economic position as better than a
       year ago

    -  81 per cent of Albertans and 79 per cent of British Columbians are
       optimistic about growth in the coming year

    -  Only seven per cent of Albertan SMBs source internationally while only
       eight per cent sell internationally

    -  U.S. SMBs are believed to be the greatest competition to Canadian SMBs
       with Alberta's small businesses falling a close second

    -  British Columbians are the most optimistic about growth in China

    -  56 per cent of Atlantic Canadians say their economic position has
       improved

    -  Atlantic Canadian SMBs were rated the most laid back in Canada (21 per
       cent) followed closely by British Columbians (17 per cent)

    -  Quebeckers are the least optimistic about Canada's economic growth
       with only 58 per cent believing Canada's economy will improve

    -  Canadian SMBs believe the four most important industries to their
       province in the next three years will be energy and utilities,
       construction, information technology and telecommunications, and
       transportation

    -  Both Asia and Europe are seen to have more competitive SMBs than most
       Canadian provinces and regions
    

    Tierney is joining UPS colleagues in discussing the UPS Business
Monitor(TM) Canada study and the impact of these trends in a webinar set to
take place at 11:30 a.m. EST on October 3.

    English version
    ---------------
    To join the English webinar, participants must dial 1-866-226-1799 for
audio access. Local Toronto participants may call 416-641-6131. To follow
along with the accompanying visual slideshow, participants must click the
following link:
https://www119.livemeeting.com/cc/bellconfpro/join?id=KN9CTN&role=attend&pw
=dXj-2%5DG

    French version
    --------------
    To join the French webinar, participants must dial 1-866-696-5911 for
audio access. To follow along with the accompanying visual slideshow,
participants must click the following link:
https://www119.livemeeting.com/cc/bellconfpro/join?id=PQW4PN&role=attend&pw=C%
2Cm%3C.6n

    To obtain additional information, schedule an interview or obtain a copy
of the material discussed in the webinar, please contact APEX Public Relations
at the information provided at the top of this release.
    The UPS Business Monitor(TM) Canada study was conducted by TNS Canadian
Facts on behalf of UPS Canada between March and April 2007. Research involved
surveying 637 strategic decision-makers in Canadian SMBs throughout the
country in both English and French. The overall margin of error is +/- 3.9
percent.

    UPS, which celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2007, is the world's
largest package delivery company and a global leader in supply chain services,
offering an extensive range of options for synchronizing the movement of
goods, information and funds. Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., UPS serves more
than 200 countries and territories worldwide. UPS's stock trades on the New
York Stock Exchange (UPS) and the company can be found on the Web at UPS.com.
To get UPS news direct, visit pressroom.ups.com/RSS.





For further information:

For further information: Dan Ovsey, APEX Public Relations, (416)
924-4442 ext. 239, dovsey@apexpr.com; Tanya Elliott-Briden, APEX Public
Relations, (416) 924-4442 ext. 238, telliott-briden@apexpr.com


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