Canadian Entrepreneurism Alive and Kicking

Despite recession, one-in-three Canadians is interested in starting their own business

MISSISSAUGA, ON, May 4 /CNW/ - Despite almost two years of intense economic downturn, findings from a cross-country survey reveal a strong entrepreneurial spirit among Canadians ready to venture out on their own.

The survey, conducted for Intuit Inc., maker of QuickBooks, showed one-in-three Canadians is interested in starting their own business in the next two years - and 35 per cent of this group said they are likely to follow through on their plans. Further, almost one-quarter (22 per cent) of those planning to start a small business said the recession had not deflated their plans and may have actually emboldened them to forge ahead.

Reasons to Start

What's driving these Canadians? Mainly, it comes down to control and independence. When asked about the greatest drivers, Canadians who were interested in "going it alone" said having control over their own destiny (52 per cent) is the top motivator. These Canadians are also motivated by not having to work for someone else (41 per cent), and 37 per cent believe when it comes to cash, starting a small business is the key to making more of it.

"Much of Canada's economic might comes from its small business backbone and, despite a market characterized by uncertainty, it's encouraging to see such gritty, entrepreneurial determination among the Canadian population," said Gene Lewis, country manager for Intuit Canada. "The road to economic recovery is expected to be long and hard, and this study shows that Canadian tenacity will be a key motivating factor in the turnaround."

Self Confidence Abounds but Money Management Causes Concern

Being the boss requires well-rounded business know-how, and the Intuit study showed Canadians believe they have what it takes. Nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) of those likely to start a business believe it's easy to come up with a successful business idea and more than half (55 per cent) are confident they can market it.

Respondents were also confident in their ability to take on almost all aspects of day-to-day activities themselves, including:

    
    -  Hiring the right staff - 94 per cent
    -  Client service - 85 per cent
    -  Finding investors - 68 per cent
    -  Promoting the business - 56 per cent
    

Entrepreneurial confidence apparently ends when it comes to managing business finances. Seven-in-ten Canadians who are likely to start a small business believe sorting through taxes and financing requirements would be a difficult part of running a business. And 58 per cent would rather have someone else handle important accounting tasks, such as payroll, invoicing, and taxes.

"Canadians clearly believe they have the chops to build a successful business and the hesitation around accounting is nothing new," said Lewis. "Whether you're an entrepreneurial novice or consider yourself a seasoned small business pro, your finances are the lifeblood of your business. Understanding how everything works is crucial. Having the right financial tools can dramatically simplify this important piece of the puzzle and put the control back in the hands of the small business owner."

What's Holding Some Back?

While entrepreneurism among Canadians is healthy, the Intuit study simultaneously revealed why some won't take the plunge into small business. Reasons for holding back included:

    
    -  Lack of money - 46 per cent
    -  Too difficult to obtain a loan - 68 per cent
    -  Lack of support network - 58 per cent
    

"Having a network of trusted advisors is critical to small business success," said Lewis. "This is the main motivation for Intuit's creation of online communities where entrepreneurs interact with and get valuable support from others."

The HST factor

Canadians have clearly expressed disdain for bookkeeping and taxes and the introduction of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) on July 1, 2010 isn't likely to make things any easier in Ontario and British Columbia.

The majority of Ontario and BC residents believe the HST will hinder small business, as more than three-quarters (81 per cent) of respondents said the new tax will make consumers more price conscious, and three-in-four (75 per cent) believe that will lead to spending cutbacks. An additional 68 per cent say more information is needed to assess its full impact, which suggests that, as the deadline looms, many Canadians are in the dark on this significant change to how businesses operate.

"Residents of Ontario and British Columbia have stated that HST is a problem for them, and for anyone considering a new venture, now is the time to act," added Lewis. "Financial management shouldn't scare away budding entrepreneurs," said Lewis. "Software such as QuickBooks can help them manage money. And for those who are still concerned, we recommend they talk to an accountant. Simply put, running a small business is often the realization of a dream and taxes should never slow anyone down."

Try North America's Leading Financial Management Software for Free

QuickBooks Easy Start, an entry-level small business financial management program, is available for free download at http://quickbooks.intuit.ca/accounting-software/free-quickbooks.jsp

About Intuit Canada

Intuit Canada ULC is a leading provider of business, financial and tax management solutions for small- and mid-sized businesses, consumers and accounting professionals. Its flagship products and services, including Quicken(R), QuickBooks(R), QuickBooks(R) Enterprise Solutions, SuccèsPME, QuickTax, and ImpôtRapideMC, simplify personal finance, business accounting, and tax preparation and filing.

Additional offerings include ProFile(R), a professional tax preparation software suite, the QuickBooks ProAdvisor Program and the Intuit Developer Network for professional users and developers. All are provided by Intuit Canada or through its partners.

Intuit Canada has employees located in Edmonton, Calgary, Mississauga, Montreal and Ottawa. Intuit Canada is an affiliate of Intuit Inc., which is listed on the Nasdaq stock market under the symbol INTU. More information can be found at www.intuit.ca.

QuickTax is the registered mark of LexisNexis Canada Inc., used by Intuit Canada under license.

About the survey

Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey from Feb. 26 - March 1, among 1,010 randomly selected Canadian adults. The margin of error - which measures sampling variability - is +/- 3.08 per cent, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region census data to ensure a representative sample. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

SOURCE Intuit Canada Limited

For further information: For further information: Geoffrey Morgan, Intuit, (905) 366-9449, geoffrey_morgan@intuit.com; Matthew Kanas, Edelman, (416) 979-1120 ext. 346, matthew.kanas@edelman.com; Riannon John, Edelman, (416) 979-1120 ext. 242, riannon.john@edelman.com

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Intuit Canada Limited

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