Canadian small businesses should invest in innovation now, new Scotiabank report

Scotiabank encourages small and medium businesses to invest in innovation and technology as interest rates rise

TORONTO, May 26, 2022 /CNW/ - Canadian Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) should consider investing in innovations and technology before interest rates increase even higher, according to the latest report from Scotiabank.

Scotiabank's latest small business trend report, SMEs: The Shortage Economy sheds light on Canada's economic forecast and what that could mean for Canadian business owners in the coming months and years. The report indicates that business owners now expect supply chain disruptions to continue to worsen for at least the next six months, exacerbated by geopolitical events such as the war in Ukraine. These obstacles are having a significant impact on many SMEs' business operations and opportunities for growth.

In addition to these broad market challenges, the cost of borrowing will rise through 2023, with the Bank of Canada expected to continue to raise interest rates. While the Canadian business community began to express optimism as the pandemic waned, these various financial strains could impact SMEs that currently point to limited financial resources as factors constraining business development through the adoption of new technologies, such as e-commerce solutions.

The advice for SMEs to invest in innovation now extends earlier analysis from Scotiabank's most recent Path to Impact Report which found that businesses that invested in their digital capabilities were better positioned to withstand economic challenges.

Key Findings from the SMEs: The Shortage Economy report includes:
  • SMEs have underperformed larger enterprises in the post-pandemic recovery. Since the start of the pandemic, 1/3 of firms now consider a shortage of input products to be a limiting factor for raising production.
  • Canada has seen the number of unfilled job vacancies reach historic levels during the post-pandemic recovery. Many positions remain unfilled from workers who left industries affected by lockdowns, the inability to hire workers as quickly as they were laid off during the pandemic, and overall exodus from some industries where virus exposure was elevated.
  • Businesses consider the shortage of labour as an important limiting factor to revenue growth and smaller firms expect to raise wages more on average, compared to larger firms.
  • Growth in Canada's overall GDP is expected to average 4.3% in 2022 and 3.2% in 2023, with unemployment falling through 2022.

"Taking a proactive approach to investing in your own business - now rather than later - will ensure it's more resilient, as you adapt to a higher cost future and capitalize on changing consumer behaviour," said Jason Charlebois, Scotiabank's Senior Vice President of Small Business Banking.  "Canadian business owners can rest assured knowing that they can speak with a Scotiabank Small Business Advisor on financing options and how to best weather future economic headwinds."

As Canadian business owners plan their operational strategies for the year ahead, Scotiabank recommends five key areas for recovery and growth:

  1. Plan your Liquidity and Cash Flow: Begin scenario planning for 6-12 months ahead, amid rising interest rates and supply chain disruptions. Evaluate your cash flow, employee requirements, inventory, and variable and fixed expenses. Review and consider securing required capital to head off potential rate hikes.
  2. Dive into Digital: Take advantage of the many tools and resources available to help your business grow its digital capabilities. Explore opportunities for your business to incorporate online innovation, and investigate ways to process customer payments faster, such as Scotiabank's Interac† for business. As your circumstances fluctuate, having agile operating processes can help you adapt quickly with changing conditions.
  3. Continually monitor the economic environment: Interest rates can rise overnight. It is important that business owners keep a close eye on external factors that can impact their business. This way, risks and opportunities are proactively identified so businesses can pivot and improve their resiliency.
  4. Lean on your financial A-Team: Now is the time to reach out to your Small Business Advisor. Scotiabank has a vast network of experienced professionals who have supported thousands of businesses throughout challenging periods. Our team offers specialized solutions to help you manage risks, capitalize on new opportunities, and plan for your future – we are here to guide and support you throughout your journey with strategies from recovery to growth.

Visit the Scotiabank Advice+ Centre for Business for more details:

To read the full report SMEs: The Shortage Economy report, please click here.

 Interac is a registered trademark of Interac Corp. Used under licence.

About Scotiabank: 

Scotiabank is a leading bank in the Americas. Guided by our purpose: "for every future", we help our customers, their families and their communities achieve success through a broad range of advice, products, and services, including personal and commercial banking, wealth management and private banking, corporate and investment banking, and capital markets. With a team of over 90,000 employees and assets of approximately $1.3 trillion (as of April 30, 2022), Scotiabank trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: BNS) and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: BNS). For more information, please visit and follow us on Twitter @ScotiabankViews.

SOURCE Scotiabank

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