85%-90% of economy and employment is driven by Small to Medium Enterprises or SMEs. They are the back bone of every economy and community, if SMEs fail then economies struggle. I was watching Canadian Election debate last night and all three leaders were keen to talk about “creating jobs” doing “infrastructure projects”. Nothing against Infrastructure projects but jobs created by large scale projects are temporary, 5-7 years when project is completed jobs are finished. I am surprised none of the leaders spoke about empowering SMEs and helping create SME focused economy and policy. That is what will create “knowledge economy” as well.
Why not support SMEs, make it easier for people to launch businesses and succeed, why not ask banks to focus on SMEs and help them with financing and funding. 95% of the new businesses fail within first 3 years so they are at their most vulnerable in the first three years. Yet, when I go to my bank to ask for loan they want me to be at least 2 years old business even before they talk to me. If I can survive two years as newly launched businesses then I am already fairly successful and I may not need bank support. If businesses fail within first three years it isn’t because they were bad businesses it is because they didn’t have enough resources to carry on. Why not ask EDB to become focused and engaged with SMEs and help them find international markets. Only 10% of Canadian SMEs export and they are generally at the top end of Medium enterprises rather than Small. I worked with EDB and their counterparts from US, Germany, UK, Turkey & China in helping businesses find markets in internationally. I found Canadian govt agencies to be least interested and proactive of them all, while other countries commercial teams were pushing us to help connect them with relevant people at our events Canadian office’s attitude was laissez-faire.
The reason none of the leaders don’t talk about supporting SMEs and Entrepreneurs is because they don’t know how, because SMEs are not big ticket items, because by definition SMEs aren’t going to create 1,000s of jobs in one go and make headlines. But guess what, not supporting #SMEs will cost your economy 1000s of jobs and slow down the economy. In the next 5-7 years over 700,000 Canadian SMEs will be at risk as #BabyBoomers will retire. Now imagine percentage of those businesses failing or shutting shop, imagine unemployment and size of economic crisis it will create. And now think, if our policy and leadership if aware of it or prepared for it? yet, no leader wants to talk about it.