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Digitize Now: BDC Small Business Week 2018 kicks off with focus on digital transformation

Bank launches digital assessment tool and new $250 million lending envelope to help entrepreneurs make the digital shift
15/10/2018

Toronto, October 15, 2018—Under the theme “Digitize now: Transform your business”, BDC Small Business WeekTM 2018 (SBW) officially kicks off today with the publication of a new study that reveals the dramatic impact digital transformation can have on sales growth. In How to Make the Digital Shift in Your Business, the Bank assesses the level of digital maturity in Canada’s SMEs. Based on a survey of 2,000 Canadian entrepreneurs, the study finds that only 19% have strongly adopted digital technology and culture, whereas 57% have weak digital maturity.

BDC is also debuting a free online digital maturity assessment that allows businesses to measure their use of digital technologies, compare themselves against other companies and get valuable advice on how to kick off change. Both will be discussed at a launch event that BDC will co-host later today with PayPal at The Globe & Mail Center in Toronto, where participants will hear from a power-packed panel of prominent Canadian entrepreneurs on challenges related to digital transformation.

Digital maturity is a key success factor for SMEs

Businesses with higher digital maturity are 62% more likely to have high sales growth than other businesses, more likely to have high profit growth (52%) and are three times more likely to have innovated. Businesses with weak digital maturity often struggle to grow sales and often see sales fall.

“In today’s connected, automated and data-driven world, it’s vital for Canadian businesses to embrace new technologies to keep up with the competition,” says Pierre Cléroux, Vice President, Research and Chief Economist at BDC.

The study also identifies five steps that Canadian businesses can take to digitize right now:

  1. Define and share their digital vision, by learning about digital technologies, identifying bottlenecks and production problems that have to be resolved before bringing in digital technologies, and creating an action plan;
  2. Invest in technology with gradual changes and focusing on customer needs;
  3. Establish a culture of change by building a change team, training employees and rewarding risk-taking;
  4. Unleash the power of data and use it for decision-making and keeping track of useful information;
  5. Work for continuous improvement by measuring performance and adapting the business model.

New financing to help SMEs digitize

Getting external financing for software and integration costs is often difficult to obtain. “As Canada’s only bank devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs, we see every day how businesses are accelerating their performance by harnessing digital technologies”, adds Michael Denham, BDC’s President and CEO. “We want to help, which is why we are making available a new $250 million lending envelope to provide the money entrepreneurs need for projects that are key to their productivity and growth,” says Denham.

With this new offering, entrepreneurs can purchase new software to enhance existing processes and take their business to the next level. Combined with BDC’s advice on planning technology investments, they are now equipped to make their digital transformation a reality.

About BDC Small Business WeekTM

This year’s edition of SBW runs October 14 to 20 under the theme “Digitize now: Transform your business.” BDC Small Business WeekTM is a Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) trademark whose origins date back to 1979 when BDC business centres in British Columbia’s Lower Fraser Valley pooled their resources to organize a week of activities for entrepreneurs. This first event and the one that followed in 1980 were so successful that BDC officially launched BDC Small Business WeekTM across Canada in 1981. The initiative was quickly adopted by Canada’s business community. In 2017, close to 300 activities across Canada attracted around 20,000 business people. This BDC flagship event celebrates entrepreneurship at the local, provincial and national levels.

About BDC

BDC is the only bank devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs. It promotes Canadian entrepreneurship with a focus on small and medium-sized businesses. With its 123 business centres from coast to coast, BDC provides businesses in all industries with financing and advisory services. Its investment arm, BDC Capital, offers equity, venture capital and flexible growth and transition capital solutions. BDC is also the first financial institution in Canada to receive B Corp certification. To find out more, visit bdc.ca.

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