BDC chief economist to share productivity strategies with Ottawa businesses

With nearly 98 per cent of Canadian businesses employing fewer than 100 people, it’s not hard to see why SMEs are the driving force behind the economy, contributing more than half of the country’s gross domestic product.

The Business Development Bank of Canada is once again recognizing these businesses’ vital contributions to economic growth during Small Business Week, which runs from Oct. 16-22.

Throughout the week, BDC is hosting a series of events across Canada to promote the importance of small businesses and their accomplishments, including an appearance by the bank’s chief economist, Pierre Cleroux, at the next Eggs n’ Icons breakfast on Oct. 20.

A joint initiative of the Ottawa Business Journal and the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce, the event will tackle a topic on every entrepreneur’s mind: Productivity.

“We’ve been looking for an opportunity to work with BDC on its Small Business Week initiative,” said OBJ publisher Michael Curran. “This is a great start. I’m particularly looking forward to BDC’s chief economist, Pierre Cleroux, who is speaking about boosting productivity to unleash growth in companies.”

According the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Canada’s labour productivity growth rate dropped to an average of 0.9 per cent between 2004 and 2014, compared with an average of 1.4 per cent between 1996 and 2004.

Mr. Cleroux will discuss the role of individual entrepreneurs in addressing Canada’s growing decline in productivity. He will also look at how falling productivity is impacting SMEs’ ability to compete on the world stage and what Canada’s most successful businesspeople are doing to buck the trend.

The audience will also hear the results of a comprehensive study on the productivity of 1,500 Canadian business owners conducted by BDC. In addition, the bank will talk about a new business productivity benchmarking tool it is launching later this fall.

Following breakfast, Ontario Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Allan O’Dette will comment on a new report on the province’s SMEs that is being released as part of Small Business Week.

Federal Minister of Small Business and Tourism Bardish Chagger is also slated to speak, while a panel of local entrepreneurs that includes CanvasPop co-founder Nazim Ahmed, Armstrong Monitoring president Joanne Johnson and Versature chief operating officer Jonathon Moody will discuss issues relating to productivity and small business.

“Small and medium enterprises are vital for Ottawa’s vibrant economy, and outside the government, they are the biggest employers,” said Ian Faris, president and CEO of the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce. “We are not only committed to advocate, connect and support our SMEs, but also explore innovative ways to create new entrepreneurs, and this forum is all about that.”

For tickets and more information, visit the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce's website here.