The Conference Board of Canada’s just released Index of Business Confidence shows that Canadian business people are feeling more positive about economic growth, bringing the first quarter total to 101.8 from last quarter’s total of 99.3. Canadian’s business confidence is finally showing an upswing after three straight seasons of declines in the index.
“Most business leaders expect their firm’s profitability to improve over the next six months, which is a marked increase from the winter survey,” said Pedro Antunes, Director, National and Provincial Forecast.
Confidence in overall economic improvement increased from 19 per cent of respondents to 43 per cent of respondents in this quarter. Only nine per cent of respondents were naysayers that predicted a worsening economy.
On an individual basis, this confidence continued with over 50 per cent of business leaders expecting future profitability and financial security for their firms, jumping from the 38 per cent of last quarter. Again, the naysayers were at a low 10 per cent.
While this belief in the times getting better is good, businesses still reported hesitation towards investing significantly into the economy due to factors such as excess capacity, weak demand, rising labour costs and high taxes. Though the percentage of businesses willing to invest 20 per cent or more has decreased by 7 per cent, this is offset by an equal number of businesses willing to invest less than 20 per cent.
Meanwhile, the federally-commended all-volunteer organisation Startup Canada is officially being launched in Ottawa tonight. Startup Canada is a national movement that is embarking on a nationwide tour to asking Canadian entrepreneurs to write the action plan for fueling Canadian business growth. While seeking feedback from the business front-lines sounds like a good start, critics fear that its lack of federal funding and guarantee of governmental implementation could make the initiative a feel-good but ineffective sop for the nation.
So far, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird have expressed support for the initiative but no guarantees. Additionally, across the border President Obama has jumped on the startup bandwagon by promoting a Startup America initiative as part of his re-election campaign.
“I commend the founders of Startup Canada and the organizers of this inspired nationwide campaign,” a letter from the desk of the Prime Minister reads.
“I wish you tremendous success as you promote a stronger entrepreneurial culture in Canada.”Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, is supporting this initiative and will be attending tonight's event.
"We look forward to working with this group going forward to help put Canadian entrepreneurs on the world stage," Baird said in a press release.
“Startup Canada welcomes the federal government’s support as we aim to identify actionable proposals and priorities for advancing entrepreneurship in Canada,” added Startup Canada co-founder Victoria Lennox.