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BDC Small Business WeekTM 44th edition: The annual conversation around small business kicks off today

October 17, 2023 Montreal –The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) is today kicking off its 44th edition of Small Business Week (SBW), Canada’s entrepreneurship celebration.

Small businesses say they like to learn from the successes and challenges of their peers. Small Business Week is a pan-Canadian forum for entrepreneurs to share their experiences and talk about solutions in dealing with economic uncertainty.

This year’s program aims to understand and tackle a major issue for Canadian entrepreneurs: labour scarcity. BDC is releasing its third report on the issue, entitled The Challenge of a Decade: How to Navigate Canada’s Labour shortages. The study finds that the number of entrepreneurs having difficulties hiring and/or retaining employees has significantly increased since 2018: over 60% of entrepreneurs are having difficulties hiring compared to just over 40% five years ago. The study is based on feedback from entrepreneurs that have successfully navigated the labour crunch, and geared towards helping other small businesses make more informed decisions.

“There is nothing like an entrepreneur to understand and inspire another entrepreneur. Small Business Week is all about facilitating the kinds of connections entrepreneurs seek throughout their business journey: it’s a moment for business owners to meet with their peers, take a step back and have a fresh look at what’s ahead,” says Isabelle Hudon, president, and CEO of BDC. “I have personally spoken to hundreds of them, and they often share the same struggles. Economic uncertainty, labour scarcity and skills are near the top of the list of their challenges. Together, we hope to tackle the problem head on.”

Low unemployment, an ageing population on the brink of retirement and rising costs are just a few of the factors complicating today’s business environment. On the upside, entrepreneurs can adjust their ways and develop key skills to succeed. In Entrepreneurship in motion: Skills to succeed in a changing world, BDC presents critical skills entrepreneurs can acquire at different stages of their growth. SBW participants will have the opportunity to learn more about these skills and how to succeed in the current business environment through workshops and networking events across the country.

Small businesses are a crucial contributor to Canada’s economy. They are responsible for 88% of private sector jobs and generate over 50% of the country’s GDP. As a development bank, BDC’s role is to support entrepreneurs in their growth, spurring competitiveness, and the rise of Canadian champions. BDC supports 100,000 entrepreneurs and, by extension, is developing the economy for the benefit of all Canadians.

The Bank works alongside many knowledgeable organizations such as the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Futurpreneur, WeConnect International, or WBE Canada to offer valuable content during this unique week. Entrepreneurs can benefit from their expertise by joining these special events.

BDC Small Business WeekTM, Oct. 15-21, is an annual entrepreneurship event that BDC has organized for nearly five decades. Every year, more than 10,000 entrepreneurs gather to learn, share, network and celebrate Canada’s dreamers and doers.

About BDC 

As Canada’s bank for entrepreneurs, BDC is a partner of choice for all entrepreneurs looking to access the financing and advice they need to build their businesses and tackle the big challenges of our time. Our investment arm, BDC Capital, offers a wide range of risk capital solutions to help grow the country’s most innovative firms. We are one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers and Canada’s Best Diversity Employers. For more information on BDC’s products and services and to consult free tools, templates and articles, visit bdc.ca or join BDC on social media

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