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Articles

Entrepreneurs Stand To Gain From Demographics And Technology

Published: October,16 2017

Entrepreneurs can’t afford to ignore the major changes in Canada’s workforce and digital technology. The impacts of these trends offer opportunities for business owners, finds a survey by BDC. ‘Future-Proof Your Business: Adapting to Demographic and Technology Trends’ shows digital technologies are transforming how Canadians live, learn, and work.

“Those who get ahead of the changes are building stronger, faster-growing and more profitable companies," says Pierre Cléroux, vice-president, research, and chief economist at BDC.

Embracing cultural diversity: a winning recruitment strategy

While several studies emphasize that companies with an ethnically diverse labour force perform better financially, only six per cent of Canadian entrepreneurs reported relying on immigrant workers to fill their needs for skilled employees. Immigrants will account for two-thirds of Canada's population growth in 2022 and up to 80 per cent by 2032, says Statistics Canada data.

“Our survey shows that entrepreneurs need to do more to understand the contributions that new Canadians could make to their business,” Cléroux. “Many business owners are missing out on this important pool of talent.”

Businesses that took action to facilitate hiring skilled workers, such as new Canadians, expect higher annual sales growth.

Use of eCommerce platforms expected to double by 2020

Digital platforms are making it simpler and more convenient for customers to get what they want, when they want it, and how they want it. As such, consumers are making purchases armed with more information than ever before. In fact, BDC found that nine out of 10 consumers systematically visit a company's website before contacting it for information, and more than half of the business-to-business buying process is done online before a salesperson is contacted.

BDC says businesses that have embraced digital technologies have improved their customer experience (49 per cent), boosted revenue growth (34 per cent), and enhanced their efficiency through lower costs (36 per cent) and better productivity (45 per cent).

Yet, survey results suggest that, social media aside, digital technology adoption remains quite low among small businesses, with less than one quarter of businesses with fewer than 20 employees currently using eCommerce platforms. Fortunately, this proportion is expected to rise to about 48 per cent by 2020.

BDC's survey was conducted online with 1,413 businesses across Canada.