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BMO Wealth Management Report: Majority of Small Business Owners Not Accessing Funding and Other Resources to Support Innovation
  • 61 per cent of Canadian small business owners have not pursued government grants; 64 per cent are not aware of the network of business accelerators, incubators and hubs
  • The majority of Canadian small business owners cite meeting client needs as the top reason for implementing innovation
  • BMO offers tips for Canadian small business owners to create wealth through business improvements

TORONTO, May 9, 2018 /CNW/ - BMO Wealth Management today released a report examining how Canadian small business owners view innovation and how it can help their business.

The report, "Innovation: Creating wealth through business improvements," found that small business owners are not taking advantage of available resources to help their businesses innovate and grow.

The majority of Canadian small business owners (61 per cent) have not pursued government grants to support innovation.

Reasons for not applying include:

  • Not wanting to incur any debt – 33 per cent
  • Believing that the process of acquiring funding was too complicated – 25 per cent
  • Fear of being declined – 22 per cent

Additionally, the majority of Canadian small business owners (64 per cent) are not aware of the network of accelerators, incubators and hubs that are available to help them innovate. This response was cited significantly more by women (74 per cent) than men (55 per cent).

"Small business owners should seek out and take advantage of the resources available to help drive their businesses forward profitably," said Chris Buttigieg, Director, Wealth Institute, BMO Wealth Management. "Innovation and profitable business changes don't necessarily require a significant financial investment, and simple, low-tech innovations can help keep things fresh for customers, employees and the business."

Why innovation is important for small businesses

The BMO Wealth Management report also examined why small business owners implement innovation in their businesses. Meeting client needs was cited as most important (70 per cent), followed by creating a better product or service (66 per cent) and maintaining growth and stability of the business (61 per cent). The responses from women and older business owners were more client centric, while men and younger business owners had a higher focus on creating better products or services.

"Innovation that helps create wealth for Canadian small business owners requires business leadership and motivation, a strong support system and a desire to improve," said Andrew Irvine, Head of Customer Solutions, Canadian Personal and Business Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal. "Innovation should be a never-ending process."

BMO offers the following tips for Canadians small business owners:

Join a support network: Innovation works best when business owners with different opinions and backgrounds collaborate. Joining a business group, finding a mentor and relating with similar business professionals can provide both short and long-term benefits to help innovation and growth.

Consider a balanced approach in your wealth plan: Canadian small business owners often take on personal financial risk when running their business. A balanced approach in a personal wealth plan that includes investing personal and retirement funds in other industries and regions can help reduce risk.

Plan for retirement: Only a small percentage of businesses are sold when a business owner chooses to retire. Consider investing a small amount each month through a monthly purchase plan, which will allow for automatic and consistent contributions throughout the year to help fund long-term goals such as retirement.

Insure yourself: Unforeseen events, such as illness, can happen at any time and can cause considerable financial strain on small businesses. Personal insurance can help pay bills, keep the business running and pay staff until the business owner recovers.

To view a copy of the full report, please visit

About BMO Financial Group
Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a highly diversified financial services provider – the 8th largest bank, by assets, in North America. With total assets of $728 billion as of January 31, 2018, and a team of diverse and highly engaged employees, BMO provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, BMO Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.

SOURCE BMO Financial Group

For further information: Alicia Skrinjar, Toronto,, 416-867-3996; Valérie Doucet, Montreal,, 514-877-8224

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