Canadian SMEs Prioritize Domestic Growth and Express Global Concerns

TORONTO, September 21, 2017

  • 70% of SMEs in Canada expect sales to grow over the next 12 months, the most confident of all countries surveyed
  • Over half (54%) of respondents describe the Canadian economy as performing positively
  • Canadian SMEs are significantly more concerned about the global economy (74%)

Though concerned about the global economy, Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are relatively confident about the current state of the domestic economy and the outlook for business over the next 12 months, according to the latest Global Business Monitor report, an annual survey of SMEs undertaken by cross-border financing provider, Bibby Financial Services (BFS).

The study surveyed SME owners and decision makers in the U.S., Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Singapore and the UK.

Over half of Canadian respondents (54%) describe the current Canadian economic performance as positive, while only 11 percent feel the economy is performing poorly. The vast majority of respondents expect the Canadian economy to maintain or improve on its current performance over the next 12 months. Only 15 percent expect the domestic economy to worsen. Canadian SMEs expect the positive economic outlook to translate into higher sales with 70 percent expecting sales growth over the next 12 months, the highest of any country surveyed.

Canadian views are far less positive on the global economy, with 74 percent expressing concern about the global economic outlook. Additionally, only 24 percent feel that the global economy is performing well. Foremost among their concerns is the political situation in the U.S., where the new Administration has pledged to re-negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). As a result, only 6 percent of Canadian SMEs see trading internationally as the greatest growth opportunity for their business.

Calum Williamson, President / Managing Director - Canada, Bibby Financial Services said: “Out of all the countries surveyed, Canadian SMEs are the most confident about their sales prospects, in part reflecting greater confidence in the Canadian economy and its outlook after several years of lacklustre growth. Canadian SMEs see domestic expansion as the most promising growth opportunity and continue to be wary of global instability with less than a third engaging in international trade.”

While sales remain strong, survey respondents see rising overheads/costs as their biggest business challenge, currently and over the next 12 months. Currency volatility, lack of skilled staff in a tightening labor market and government red tape were also widely cited challenges. For the nearly one third of Canadian SMEs that trade internationally, government red tape and currency volatility topped the list of challenges.

Williamson added: “Canadian SMEs still have challenges to overcome at home. In order to run a successful business, SMEs need a skilled workforce and solid understanding of the regulatory landscape. At the same time, the survey findings indicate that more needs to be done to help SMEs better understand and pursue the opportunities to trade internationally as the world economy, despite its challenges, continues to globalize.”

Canadian SMEs Prioritize Domestic Growth and Express Global Concerns

About Bibby Financial Services

Bibby Financial Services is a leading independent financial services partner to more than 10,250 businesses worldwide providing more than $1.25 billion in funding annually and handling $11.6 billion in annual client turnover globally. With over 44 operations in 13 countries spanning Europe, North America and Asia, we provide asset-based lending and factoring solutions to help businesses grow in domestic and international markets. Established in 2001, Bibby Financial Services North America has seven offices in the U.S. and Canada that support businesses in virtually any industry. We hold memberships in the Commercial Finance Association, the International Factoring Association, and the American Finance Association.  Bibby Financial Services is part of Bibby Line Group (BLG), a diverse and forward-looking family business with over 200 years’ experience of providing personal, responsive and flexible customer solutions. To find out more about Bibby USA and Bibby Canada, please visit or



The Global Business Monitor is an international survey of small and medium sized businesses across the U.S., Ireland, United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, France, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Canada, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Respondent businesses have up to 250 employees and operate in wholesale / retail, manufacturing, construction, transport, and services sectors.

Research was conducted throughout June and July 2017 by Critical Research and 1,655 telephone interviews were undertaken. 

21 August 2017

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