Technology key to business growth for majority of Aboriginal-owned small businesses



    70 per cent anticipate expanding either locally or nationally within
    five years

    TORONTO, June 18 /CNW/ - Canada's Aboriginal business community is
thriving, according to a national survey of Aboriginal-owned small- and
medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The Xerox Canada/Leger Marketing poll
attributes much of this potential growth to new technology solutions that make
it easier for smaller businesses to compete in the Canadian marketplace.
    The survey revealed that 72 per cent of Aboriginal business owners plan
to expand over the next five years, with more than half (51 per cent) planning
to grow locally, and another fifth (21 per cent) expecting to expand
nationally. Three-quarters (77 per cent) of the businesses surveyed said that
scalable technology solutions, including colour printing and document
management capabilities, are critical to business growth, and more than
one-quarter plan to invest in upgraded document solutions over the next year.
    On average, Aboriginal companies have gained from the benefits of colour
printing longer than most Canadian small businesses, as most Aboriginal-owned
businesses adopted colour around 2000, a year ahead of non-Aboriginal-owned
SMBs, according to the same survey.
    Of those companies that currently have colour printing capabilities, the
majority (53 per cent) felt that colour printing had a direct impact on their
ability to grow the business and another 64 per cent said that colour printing
is important for continued growth.
    The survey also revealed that Aboriginal companies have been faster than
other Canadian businesses to adopt document management solutions (39 per cent
vs. 34 per cent), and as a result they are less concerned about losing
electronic documents than general business owners.
    "Since our inception we have worked hard to promote Aboriginal business
in Canada, and it's encouraging to see this important demographic come into
its own in such a short period of time," says Chief Clarence Louie, Chairman,
National Aboriginal Economic Development Board. "A stronger Aboriginal
business community ultimately means a stronger Canada, and the support of
companies like Xerox have enabled us to prosper in ways that would have been
impossible as little as 10 years ago."
    When asked about the greatest challenge facing Aboriginal businesses
today 25 per cent said that finding quality staff was one of their greatest
barriers to success.
    "The Aboriginal community is a vital part of the Canadian economy, and
it's important they have access to the same benefits and technological tools
as other Canadian businesses," said Doug Lord, president and CEO, Xerox
Canada. "Xerox Canada has supported the Aboriginal community for more than a
decade, and through initiatives like our supplier diversity program, we are
committed to the continual development of this important sector of Canadian
industry."

    Additional Findings:
    
    -   37 per cent of Aboriginal businesses plan to invest in workstation
        upgrades and 31 per cent plan to invest in Internet connectivity and
        security over the next 12 months
    -   Survey participants estimate they spend two hours per week looking
        for hard copy documents, but 61 per cent said this time is
        significantly reduced when searching for electronic documents on a
        server.
    -   On average, Aboriginal companies surveyed have nine full-time
        employees per location, and have been in business for 14 years
    

    About the Survey

    The national survey was conducted for Xerox Canada Ltd. by Leger
Marketing between July 19 and August 2, 2006 with a representative sample of
331 small and medium-sized business owners or managers. The survey is
considered accurate within +/- 5.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

    NOTE TO EDITORS: for more information on Xerox Canada, visit
http://media.xerox.ca. XEROX(R) is a trademark of XEROX CORPORATION. Xerox
Canada is licensee of the mark. Prices, features, specifications,
capabilities, appearance and availability of Xerox products and services are
subject to change without notice.





For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Laura Mergelas, Xerox Canada,
(416) 733-6216, Laura.Mergelas@xerox.com; Michael Minielly, Environics
Communications, (416) 969-2748, mminielly@environicspr.com

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