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Small businesses confident recession is over


December 17, 2009
By Canadian Pizza

December 17, 2009, Montreal – The Solidarity Fund QFL reports that a sense of optimism will usher in 2010, with small and medium sized enterprise (SME) leaders believing that things will go well in the months ahead, a sign that the recession is now behind them.

In fact, according to the report put out by the Solidarity Fund QFL in conjunction with Léger Marketing, a full 88 per cent reported feeling optimistic about the outlook for Québec SMEs, a 27 per cent increase since February 2009.

As well, 52 per cent of small and medium business owners – versus 45 per cent in September – plan to hire in 2010, an encouraging sign that is consistent with the projected recovery. As for spending, more than half (58 per cent) plan to make investments next year, either in acquisitions, expansion or modernization.

"Throughout the year, the index allowed us to track the change in SME owners' confidence about their business and the economic outlook. The results of this fifth survey are encouraging, particularly on the recruitment and investment fronts. Because of the recent improvement in credit availability, SMEs now find it easier to contemplate expansion projects. With record investments of $848 million, the Fund has played a dominant role this past year, which has been fraught with instability. Although most of these businesses (52 per cent) indicate that they are still feeling the backlash of the economic crisis, it is extremely uplifting to see just how bold and enthusiastic they are. The Fund is all the more proud to be a partner of choice for SMEs because together, we drive the local economy," said Gaétan Morin, the Fund's executive vice-president of investments.

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The results of the last survey show that labour is still a major issue, with 41 per cent of business owners considering it a formidable challenge, followed by tougher competition (39 per cent), customer attrition (37 per cent) and late receivables (32 per cent).

"Business leaders confirm what we hear all around us. Everyone is talking about a turnaround in the financial markets but we're all still cautious in terms of hiring and investments," explains Léger Marketing president Jean-Marc Léger.