The President and CEO of the Business Development Bank of Canada says these are the days of potential for Manitoba business operators. Jean-Rene Halde says they should aim high and invest, adding the Canadian economy is a sound economy, the Manitoba economy is very sound, the Canadian dollar is good and interest rates are low making it a wonderful time for business people to invest in their business.
Halde adds however Canadian business owners aren’t investing enough in information, communication and technology noting we have great workers in Canada but are far behind the U.S. on a per worker basis and businesses need to provide them with better tools in which to do their jobs.
That being said, not all of our great workers are born in Canada.
“Many, many non-Canadians come to Canada to work which is great because we need the immigration,” he says. “The challenge then is to obviously work well with them so that they’re happy to be here and very productive for our various employers. I think we’re doing fine, but we could be doing better. At the end of the day if you do it well, not only can you attract the right people but you can actually retain them for a long time and make sure they’re very productive in the process.”
He notes the interest rates are low in Canada and now is a very good time to borrow long term. Halde adds entrepreneurs are the engine of growth in Canada, we just need for them to do better and the best way to do that is by investing in their business. He points out the BDC is the country’s Development Bank and is there to help entrepreneurs.
“What we’re looking for is how the world is evolving, always trying to help our entrepreneurs think their way through the changes that are going on. Our task in the years ahead is to make sure every single one of them, as best as we can, understand the kind of challenges that’s happening are dealing with them as best as they can do under the circumstances.”
Halde says no one on this planet can coast. “Because everything we’re seeing now, literally has some world impact. And honesty if your client is not impacted, maybe it’s your client’s clients that’s going to be interested. Yes you should always look over your shoulder because the world is changing real fast.”
Meanwhile, Halde feels Canadian businesses could do a much better job of looking at emerging markets.
“I think we’re all used to selling to our big neighbour down south but the growth rate of countries like China, India, Indonesia, Brazil is phenomenal and I think if we’re gonna grow we need to be in those countries. Now, some entrepreneurs have already done that, they’ve done that very successfully we just need to convince more of their colleagues to do the same.”