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Entrepreneurs expect to grow workforce this year

Disruption, innovation key to growth, survey says.


TORONTO — Almost two thirds of Canadian entrepreneurs are expecting to hire new employees in the next year, according to EY’s Global Job Creation Survey 2016.

Sixty-four per cent of respondents said the were expecting to add positions at their companies this year, up from 50% in 2015.

“This year, [entrepreneurs] are even more enthusiastic about expanding their teams and growing their businesses – a very welcome development in this tough economic climate,”says Colleen McMorrow, EY partner and National Entrepreneur Of The Year program director.

Canadian entrepreneurs are leading the pack compared to their global peers and corporate counterparts, too. According to the survey, 59% of entrepreneurs globally expect to increase their workforce in the next 12 months. Meanwhile, 61% of Canadian corporate executives are expecting to hire this year, according to EY’s recent Capital Confidence Barometer.

The survey results also reveal that those entrepreneurs who are disruptive or innovative are growing their workforces at a much faster rate than more conventional entrepreneurs. Disruptive entrepreneurs are defined as those who change some or all of the rules of their sector with their product or service, while innovative entrepreneurs have created a brand-new product or service in the past year.

According to the survey, 14% of Canadian entrepreneurs fall into the most disruptive category, below the global average of 17%. In total, 49% are disruptors to some degree and 16% are innovators, which is above the global average of 13%.

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“Businesses that don’t think they need to embrace change need to take note,” says McMorrow. “Today’s fast-moving business environment will not hesitate to leave stagnant companies behind.”

Entrepreneurs are also focused on organic growth. While Canadian executives are eager for mergers and acquisitions this year, according to the recent Capital Confidence Barometer, entrepreneurs are choosing organic growth. Thirty-nine percent say their growth was largely organic and only 24% said it was driven largely by merger/acquisition or alliance – lower than the global average of 30%.

Rather than focusing on deals, entrepreneurs see generating new business as both their top priority and biggest challenge in the year ahead. Nearly 30% say their biggest challenge is identifying, attracting and serving new customers.

The EY global job creation survey 2016 was conducted online between January and March 2016 with an independent panel of global entrepreneurs in 12 key global markets, including input from 245 companies. The results are based on the responses of 2,673 entrepreneurs in Germany, China, India, France, Brazil, Japan, Australia, Canada, the UK, the US, Sub-Saharan Africa and MENA.

EY is a global assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services firm with Canadian headquarters in Toronto.

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