BDC launches new services for small businesses that are going
VANCOUVER, Oct. 21 /CNW Telbec/ - "In Canada, 8% of small and
medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) export their products and services. In a
competitive environment that is now global, and with the economic slowdown in
the United States, more entrepreneurs must explore the opportunities available
in international markets." That is the message that Jean-René Halde, president
and chief executive officer of the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC),
delivered today to members of the Vancouver Board of Trade at a luncheon to
launch Small Business Week 2008.
"Although internationalization may not be an appropriate solution for all
SMEs, it is clear that all entrepreneurs have to recognize that they now have
competitors from around the globe. Knowing how to measure itself against these
new competitors is vital for any company that wants to guarantee its long-term
prosperity," said Mr. Halde.
Citing a recent BDC survey of hundreds of SMEs that are
internationalizing, Mr. Halde explained that getting into global value chains
is one of the main market entry strategies used by companies that are active
in global markets.
"For SMEs, entering global value chains is one of the most effective ways
to gradually expand into international markets, since they can measure
themselves against their global competitors and adapt their businesses to meet
requirements. Getting into these value chains can have many benefits for SMEs
over the long term, because it drives them to innovate, use new technologies
and become more productive," Mr. Halde added.
The challenges of internationalization
Expanding their operations into international markets is a challenge for
many SMEs. Because of their size, SMEs have limited financial and other
resources. In fact, over half of the companies that responded to BDC's survey
indicated that their greatest challenges in this regard were getting access to
financing (57%), and the distance to customers (50%).
Financing and services to help SMEs internationalize
To help entrepreneurs, BDC has just launched a new loan and services
designed for SMEs trying to expand their markets. "These SMEs must first plan
their approach and then implement their chosen strategies. BDC can support
these entrepreneurs both during the planning phase and when they reach the
point of financing their projects," said Mr. Halde.
Through its consulting services, BDC can help entrepreneurs with
activities such as studying international markets, identifying the sectors of
the business that will have to be adapted to meet global market requirements
and developing an international business plan. BDC can even provide onsite
assistance to entrepreneurs.
To help entrepreneurs looking to widen their markets, BDC offers the
Market Xpansion Loan(TM) to finance expansion-related expenses. The conditions
of this loan, which has a value of up to $50,000, should appeal to SMEs. It
can be amortized over a period of up to six years, and no principal payments
are required in the first 12 months. The loan can be repaid in 10 semi-annual
instalments, and companies that want to pay off all or part of their loan can
do so at any time without penalty.
"Entrepreneurs have to deal with uncertain economic conditions and
upheavals in the financial markets. Of course their confidence may be shaken,
but Canadian SMEs must continue to forge ahead, although with care. Global
competition is not going away and our entrepreneurs must measure up. Those who
decide to go this route can count on BDC's support," concluded Jean-René
BDC is Canada's business development bank. From 94 branches across the
country, BDC promotes entrepreneurship by providing highly tailored financing,
venture capital and consulting services to entrepreneurs. BDC works with
entrepreneurs in all industries, through all economic cycles, and focuses on
helping small and medium-sized businesses with their development projects,
both local and global. BDC manages a $10.6-billion loan and investment
portfolio, and serves more than 28,000 clients. Small and medium-sized
businesses make up 99.7% of all employer businesses in Canada. Visit
www.bdc.ca for more information.
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