Insights from Startup Canada’s Director, Corporate & Government Affairs
On Tuesday, March 28, the Canadian Government launched their 2023 federal budget. Every year, Natasha Morano, Startup Canada’s Director of Corporate & Government Affairs, looks closely at the budget to examine any possible impacts and benefits for Canadian entrepreneurs. This year, the government clarified that they recognize the importance of advancing the next generation of small business owners by lowering credit-card fees and ensuring fairness for Canadian workers. We are glad the government recognizes the importance of promoting the next generation of Canadian small businesses and entrepreneurs. However, we would like to know how the government plans to implement the promised 101.4 million in budget 2021 into action to support entrepreneurs through the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development Program, especially those from equity-deserving groups.
While Startup Canada would have liked to see more support for Canadian entrepreneurs in Budget 2023, Natasha highlights five areas worth further examining. What else from the recent budget announcement could impact Canadian entrepreneurs? Natasha offered five areas of the budget to pay attention to:
1. Credit Card Fee Relief
The pandemic sparked a rise in people using credit cards to shop, resulting in more credit card transaction fees for small business owners. We were glad that the government had worked closely with the payment card industry to lower these transaction fees for small businesses, securing a commitment from Visa and our program partners at Mastercard! Mastercard supports entrepreneurs through sponsoring free programming for entrepreneurs like Startup Canada’s Startup Gov program, Startup Canada Podcast, and Startup Chats. We are also thrilled to see their work to support credit card relief. The reductions have been predicted to save eligible small businesses over $1 billion in fees in the next five years. CFIB offers more insights on credit card fee relief here.
2. Increased Investment in Women
Unsurprisingly, women-identifying entrepreneurs across Canada face increased barriers to accessing funding, services, and overall support for their businesses. Budget 2023 has proposed providing $160 million in funding through the Women’s program over three years for organizations serving Canadian women! At Startup Canada, we have committed to championing the success of women entrepreneurs through our flagship program, Startup Women, which offers webinars, industry advisory circles, and interactive 1:1 meetings with Startup Women leaders. We will continue to champion funding for women entrepreneurs to both private and public sector partners, including MPs who continue to work collaboratively across party lines on issues facing entrepreneurs. You can learn more about the Startup Women program here.
3. Supporting the Growth of Canadian Tourism
Canada’s Tourism Sector has taken a massive hit over the last few years. To help boost tourism across the country, Budget 2023 has proposed providing $108 million over the next three years to support local small businesses and community organizations in creating local projects and events to bolster tourism! Our team knows the importance of travelling from coast to coast to coast. That’s why this year, we are kicking off the Startup Canada Tour – a five-stop national event series to connect with the Canadian entrepreneurship ecosystem! We’re stopping in Whitehorse, Halifax, Vancouver, Calgary, and Ontario. Entrepreneurs and support organizations can sign up for a Tour stop near them at startupcanadatour.ca.
4. Ensuring Fairness for Canadian Workers and Businesses with Federal Reciprocal Procurement
Budget 2023 outlines plans to commit to procurement policies prioritizing treating Canadian workers and businesses fairly. Measures include placing conditions on foreign suppliers’ participation in federally-funded infrastructure projects, applying strict reciprocity to federal procurement, and creating a preference program for Canadian small businesses. This will ensure more federal procurement dollars benefiting Canadian workers and businesses. You can read more about the Federal Reciprocal Procurement plan on page 96 of Budget 2023.
5. Commitment to Safe and Efficient Citizenship Applications
Starting in 2023-2024, Budget 2023 proposes providing $10 million over five years to efforts to expedite the process of citizenship applications. Increased immigration with successful policies is a powerful way to grow Canada’s economy and further develop our talent pool. In Startup Canada’s 2022 Canadian Entrepreneurship Census, we found that 27% of entrepreneurs were born outside of Canada, with 7.6% being permanent residents. This year, through our flagship Startup Gov program, we continue to advocate for support for diverse entrepreneurs from across Canada in roundtable discussions with private and public sector partners. This includes continued efforts to champion improvements to the Start-up Visa program, making it easier for immigrant entrepreneurs to establish in Canada.
We know that more work must be done to improve conditions for Canada’s small business owners, but we hope that some of these commitments made in Budget 2023 will help drive change forward. Through our Startup Gov programming, we will continue amplifying entrepreneurs’ voices! Over the next few months, we will educate entrepreneurs on how they can benefit from various government support and consult with the government to showcase the gaps and weaknesses that unfortunately still exist.
To learn more about Startup Gov and other Startup Canada initiatives for supporting entrepreneurs, visit startupcan.ca.