Entrepreneurs Face Obstacles When Scaling in Canada

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s latest report, “Breaking Barriers: Ontario’s Scale Up Challenge”, identifies major roadblocks preventing Ontario businesses from expanding and presents recommendations to best support business owners in taking their ventures to the next stage of growth.

According to the report, too few entrepreneurs are continuing to build their business, or “scale up,” in the province.

“The release of Breaking Barriers coincides with initiatives currently underway by the governments of Canada and Ontario to help our most promising firms scale up. We have an incredible opportunity to leverage this alignment across government and the business community to tackle this challenge,” said Allan O’Dette, CEO of Ontario Chamber of Commerce

To position Ontario for long-term success, the report proposes recommendations to address six specific barriers preventing businesses from growing, which include a lack of access to talent with scale up experience, gaps in the right kinds of financing, and lower incentives to growth offered through public programs.

“Supporting the work of innovators and entrepreneurs across the country is integral to Canada’s future productivity and economic prosperity. Canada and Ontario stand to benefit from focusing efforts on supporting our most promising new firms and helping them succeed on a global stage,” said Sean Mullin, Executive Director of the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship.

Chief among the OCC’s recommendations are for governments to improve businesses’ access to talent in the short-term by creating a scale-up visa to quicken access to essential international managerial talent. According to our survey, 63 percent of businesses that are looking to grow face a talent shortage. The OCC also encourages governments to gain a better understanding of where current gaps exist in the Canadian financing landscape.