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Small Business Confidence: New BMO Report Details Performance, Economic Outlook and Business Expectations

- 2012 performance: 71 per cent positive about 2012

- Looking ahead: 56 per cent believe 2013 will be better year

- Business growth: 50 per cent believe business will grow



TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 4, 2012) - According to the inaugural BMO Small Business Confidence Report (index) released today, nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of Canadian entrepreneurs are confident in their business prospects and the state of the economy, with the highest levels registered by businesses in the Prairie provinces (88 per cent). This annual 'pulse check' also found that small business owners are over four times more likely to say that 2013 will be a better year than 2012.

The new BMO Small Business Confidence Report is designed to produce an index score that measures the level of confidence small business owners have in the economy based on a series of key indicators, including how they feel their business is currently performing, if they believe the next year will be a better/worse year for business and if they expect their business will grow/shrink next year. As a single-figure snapshot of small business confidence, this year's index score would register at 63 out of 100.

Province/Region
NATIONAL BC AB Prairies ON QC ATL
Confident 72 % 71 % 75 % 88 % 67 % 73 % 77 %
Worried 16 % 22 % 10 % 7 % 18 % 18 % 13 %
Confidence Index Score 63 61 66 71 63 61 65

"With an uncertain global economy, Canadian small business owners continue to focus on what matters most: their own customers and markets, plus growing their business. They continue to do so with an entrepreneurial optimism and drive," said Steve Murphy, Senior Vice President, Commercial Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal.

Performance in 2012

In the report, conducted by Pollara, 72 per cent of small business owners described their business performance in 2012 (year to date) to be 'excellent' to 'good', while almost one-third (28 per cent) indicate that their business has performed 'fair' to 'very poor' this year.

Province/Region
2012 Performance National BC AB Prairies ON QC ATL
Total Positive (Excellent, Very Good, Good) 71 % 71 % 73 % 80 % 68 % 67 % 65 %
Total Negative (Fair, Poor, Very Poor) 28 % 29 % 28 % 15 % 32 % 30 % 33 %

Outlook for 2013

Canadian small business owners indicated by a strong margin that they expect that 2013 will be a better year for their business, and that their business will grow next year. 56 per cent of entrepreneurs said that they believe 2012 will be a better year for their business (versus 12 per cent 'worse'), and 50 per cent predicted their businesses will grow in 2013; only six per cent expected their business to 'shrink'.

Regionally, businesses in Alberta have the most positive outlook for 2013, with 70 per cent saying 2013 will be a better year and 55 per cent believing their business will experience growth in the year ahead.

Province/Region
National BC AB Prairies ON QC ATL
2013 Economy Better 56 % 53 % 70 % 56 % 57 % 49 % 55 %
Worse 12 % 19 % 10 % 2 % 16 % 9 % 8 %
Business prospects Grow 50 % 44 % 55 % 49 % 51 % 48 % 53 %
Shrink 6 % 10 % 5 % <1 % 10 % 3 % 3 %

The BMO Small Business Confidence Report (index) was conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights between August 13 and September 5, using a sample of 500 Canadian business owners. Results carry a margin of error of ±4.4 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $542 billion as at July 31, 2012, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.

Media Contacts:
Paul Cunliffe, Toronto
(416) 867-3996
paul.cunliffe@bmo.com

Valerie Doucet, Montreal
(514) 877-8224
valerie.doucet@bmo.com

Laurie Grant, Vancouver
(604) 665-7596
laurie.grant@bmo.com

Internet: www.bmo.com
Twitter: @BMOmedia