Revealing Blue Sky

The latest Ivey Entrepreneurs Index survey shows a mix of optimism and caution as Canada’s premiere group of business owners contemplate the next 12 months.

The Index polls 350 fellows of the Quantum Shift leadership development program, co-founded by the Richard Ivey School of Business and KPMG Enterprise. When the fellows were asked if they believe Canada’s economy will grow over the next year, 66% said yes, down 12 points from the spring 2012 survey.

Paul Woolford, a Toronto-based KPMG Enterprise partner and national program champion, says some of the caution comes from a strong media focus on issues such as the U.S. “fiscal cliff” and Europe’s reeling economy. “Canada isn’t isolated from those issues. As more and more Canadian companies are looking to grow, they’re looking to do that outside of Canada,” he says.

The picture was rosier when it came to questions about their own prospects, with 90% expecting to see company revenue grow over the next 12 months. This number has remained steady since the spring 2011 survey.

“These individuals are very persistent,” says Woolford. “They’ve built companies through some lean years and they’re optimistic because of their talent. They can maneuver through the minefield better than larger companies.”

Their optimism was tempered, however, with 82% of respondents saying they expect their profits to grow, down 6 points from the spring survey, and 77% saying they expect to hire additional staff, down 7 points.

The companies of survey respondents have annual revenue of at least $75 million and 350 employees. The survey asks five questions about what respondents expect will happen in their private companies and Canada’s economy as a whole over the next 12 months.

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