Blog & News | FileMaker & Software Updates | Neocode

Driving Canadian Growth and Innovation: Five Challenges Holding Back Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in Canada

Research Summary: “Driving Canadian Growth and Innovation: Five Challenges Holding Back Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in Canada” By Dan Herman & Anthony D. Williams, deepcentre: Centre for Digital Entrepreneurship + Economic Performance (2013)

At Issue: Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which comprise over 99 percent of businesses in Canada, are commonly portrayed as the backbone of the national economy. However, only a small minority of companies, approximately 4 to 7 percent, demonstrate sufficient growth to make a meaningful contribution to job creation and overall GDP. It is imperative for policy makers to mitigate or remove the prevailing impediments facing small businesses, such that a larger share of SMEs may embark upon growth trajectories that enable substantial contributions to the national economy.

Research Objective(s): The objectives of this study are to accurately characterize SMEs in Canada, identify key obstacles to their growth, and propose specific recommendations for policy makers to better support the small business economy.

Scope: The study addresses SMEs, defined as companies with fewer than 100 employees, in Canada. In addition to comprising over 99 percent of Canadian companies, SMEs employ more than 6.9 million people and account for nearly 70 percent of private-sector payrolls.

Approach: The authors of this study conducted secondary research by completing a review of more than 23 independent sources.

Findings: Canadian firms lag behind international competitors in adopting productivity-enhancing technologies. In 2006, Canada ranked eleventh among 21 OECD countries in total economic investment in information and communication technologies, down from tenth in 2005 and ninth in 2004. Technology investments by Canadian manufacturers fell by 37 percent between 2000 and 2013. There is a 33 percent technology investment gap between Canadian and U.S. firms, with Canadian SMEs spending 38 percent less on technology than their U.S. counterparts.

Despite the preponderance of service firms among Canadian SMEs, only 12 percent use supply chain management software. Just 4.2 percent of SMEs in Canada qualify as “innovative SMEs” – defined as those that allocate more than 20 percent of investment expenditures to research and development. Studies of SMEs in the U.K., Germany, and France indicate that greater adoption of technology by SMEs benefits not only individual companies but also the economy at large. Increased innovation by SMEs results in increased job creation, productivity improvements, and GDP growth.

To enlarge the pool of high-growth, high-impact SMEs in Canada, policy makers are advised to:

(1) Incentivize business growth via tax policy reforms that reward revenue and employment growth;

(2) Promote international expansion of SMEs by (a) facilitating access to export markets and (b) proactively identifying would-be exporters and facilitating their global expansion via management training, export assistance, and export financing;

(3) Build SME management competencies by hosting innovative management mentorship programs and providing incentives for participating in ongoing training;

(4) Promote technology adoption among SMEs by (a) sponsoring collaborative industry-government approaches to financing, (b) engaging in information sharing in order to build the case for technological investment, and (c) emphasizing that technology adoption does not just narrowly benefit knowledge-intensive companies or tech start-ups;

(5) Facilitate more competitive prices for telecommunications services;

(6) Encourage R&D spending by (a) facilitating the development of industry-academic partnerships and (b) providing financing options and commercialization support for SMEs that pursue promising ventures with university partners; and

(7) Improve access to capital for SMEs with high-growth potential by providing conditional loans and matching grants, in order to facilitate private SME investment in technology, training, and R&D.

Notes: The full text of this study can be accessed at http://deepcentre.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/DEEP-Centre-May-2013-Driving-Canadian-Growth-and-Innovation.pdf.

Researcher Profile: Allie Grace Garnett is a professional researcher and freelance writer with a background in finance and entrepreneurship. A serial entrepreneur who has established numerous businesses, Ms. Garnett previously was a founding Principal of Nexos Resource Partners (NRP), an energy project finance firm in New York. Prior to co-founding NRP, Ms. Garnett provided financial advisory and fund raising services to institutional-scale energy funds with Sustainable Development Capital. Ms. Garnett served as the Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships for the start-up Rentricity, and additionally founded a nonprofit organization (YAVA) that encourages volunteerism among college students. Ms. Garnett holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering degree from Northeastern University.

researcher

Unlocking Innovation to Drive Scale and Growth

Research Summary: “Unlocking Innovation to Drive Scale and Growth”, Government of Canada’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth (2017)

Framework for a Functioning Innovation Ecosystem

framework

At Issue: The traditional engines of Canadian economic growth, including production of commodities, liberalized global trade, and an expanding workforce, are slowing. More than ever, innovation “at home” is crucial to maintaining and growing the nation’s economic prosperity. As the world moves briskly towards digitization and automation, Canada must keep pace in the global marketplace. By focusing on innovation, particularly within small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the Canadian government can serve to increase businesses’ productivity, drive inclusive growth, and encourage high-potential SMEs to achieve the status and scale of global champions.

Research Objective(s): The Advisory Council on Economic Growth performed this study in order to make recommendations to the public sector for enhancing innovation in Canadian small businesses.

Scope: The study examines innovation in the Canadian economy, with a particular focus on small- and medium-sized enterprises.

Approach: The authors of the study conducted secondary research by reviewing more than 51 independent sources. They utilized these sources, in addition to their own expertise, as the basis for their recommendations.

Findings: Three specific bottlenecks are contributing to Canada’s underperformance in the field of innovation:

(1) A gap between invention and revenue-generating commercialization, as evidenced by Canada’s ranking in business-university R&D collaboration declining to 19th place in 2015;

(ƒ2) Difficulty scaling up successful start-ups and SMEs, due to (a) a small and fragmented local market, (b) shortages of experienced business talent, (c) a lack of at-scale sources of growth capital, and (d) risk aversion by more established companies; and

(3) No “burning platform” to drive corporate innovation, as evidenced by (a) Canadian businesses persistently spending at half the U.S. rate on R&D, (b) Canada’s ranking in the OECD Business Expenditure on Research and Development index falling from 12th place in 2001 to 22nd in 2015, and (c) statistics indicating that only 30 percent of Canadian firms consider any form of innovation to be extremely or very
important, with just 15 percent of corporations willing to take significant financial risks in pursuit of innovation.

The following five interventions are recommended for the Canadian government to encourage innovation by the private sector, SMEs in particular:

(1) Catalyze the formation of business-led “innovation marketplaces” in sectors and technologies in which Canada has momentum and for those which require new solutions to progress forward;

(2) Create additional pools of growth capital to ensure that promising companies have both (a) sufficient capital to achieve scale and (b) access to investors who can provide advice and other value-added support;

(3) Modify government procurement policy to incorporate strategic procurement and innovation as key objectives, thereby (a) prompting a shift from a requirements-focused to a value-based procurement system and (b) enabling the government and other public-sector players to become important first customers for growing SMEs;

(4) Review and rationalize government innovation programs by (a) expanding those with proven impact and (b) reconfiguring or removing any regulatory barriers that impede development of priority sectors and innovation marketplaces; and

(5) Recruit and train top talent by (a) adopting favorable immigration policies for reducing the talent shortfall and (b) invigorating the existing talent pool via focused innovation training programs and the FutureSkills Canada program.

Notes: The full text of this study can be accessed at https://www.budget.gc.ca/aceg-ccce/pdf/innovation-2-eng.pdf.

Researcher Profile: Allie Grace Garnett is a professional researcher and freelance writer with a background in finance and entrepreneurship. A serial entrepreneur who has established numerous businesses, Ms. Garnett previously was a founding Principal of Nexos Resource Partners (NRP), an energy project finance firm in New York. Prior to co-founding NRP, Ms. Garnett provided financial advisory and fund raising services to institutional-scale energy funds with Sustainable Development Capital. Ms. Garnett served as the Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships for the start-up Rentricity, and additionally founded a nonprofit organization (YAVA) that encourages volunteerism among college students. Ms. Garnett holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering degree from Northeastern University.
researcher

The Adoption of Digital Technology by Canadian Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

Research Summary: “The Adoption of Digital Technology by Canadian Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises” By Mark Buell, Canadian Internet Registration Authority (2014)

At Issue: Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Canada have been slow to incorporate internet technologies into their businesses. Canadian SMEs, by adopting even basic internet technologies, can better meet the needs of domestic consumers, access the global marketplace, and position themselves as candidates for foreign investment.

What are Canadians Doing Online?

Research Objective(s): The study’s objectives were to (1) characterize the nature and make-up of Canadian SMEs and (2) gauge the extent to which Canadian SMEs that are already online are utilizing the internet for their businesses.

Scope: The study encompassed Canadian small- and medium-sized businesses. Small businesses comprise more than 98 percent of Canadian employers, and medium-sized businesses account for 1.6 per cent. More than 90 percent of employees in Canada, about 10 million people, work for a small- or medium-sized business.

Approach: The Canadian Internet Registration Authority worked with the Strategic Counsel to conduct a national survey in 2013.

Findings: While 87 percent of Canadian households are connected to the internet, only 45.5 percent of Canadian businesses have a website. Of Canadian small businesses, only 41.1 percent of have an online presence, while more than 91 percent of large businesses in Canada are online. The vast majority of Canada’s SMEs, 89 percent, do not sell their products or services online. Of Canadian SME owners who have incorporated the internet into their businesses, 21 percent spend more than thirty hours per month online. By comparison, 26 percent of “recreational” internet users in Canada spend at least 30 hours per month online. The primary online activities for SME owners are email (89 percent), banking (79 percent), and product research (73 percent). Notably, online shopping is not cited as a primary activity by any internet user group.

Notes: The full results of this study can be accessed at https://cira.ca/assets/Documents/Publications/Adoption-of-Digital-Technology.pdf. Visit the Canadian Internet Registration Authority at www.cira.ca.

Researcher Profile: Allie Grace Garnett is a professional researcher and freelance writer with a background in finance and entrepreneurship. A serial entrepreneur who has established numerous businesses, Ms. Garnett previously was a founding Principal of Nexos Resource Partners (NRP), an energy project finance firm in New York. Prior to co-founding NRP, Ms. Garnett provided financial advisory and fund raising services to institutional-scale energy funds with Sustainable Development Capital. Ms. Garnett served as the Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships for the start-up Rentricity, and additionally founded a nonprofit organization (YAVA) that encourages volunteerism among college students. Ms. Garnett holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering degree from Northeastern University.

.researcher

Tips In Hiring The Right Software Development Company

The advancements in the field of technology have become instrumental in the success of different entrepreneurs all over the world. This is why you need to join the bandwagon of companies that are starting to embrace the power of technology. Whether you like it or not, it is essential for you to step up your game and be ahead of your competitors through the use of technology.

One of the best decisions that you need to make is to hire the right custom software developer for your company. In this article, we are going to provide you with some tips on how you can make this happen.

Know What You Want

Before getting in touch with a professional software development firm, you have to assess the needs of your own company first. This is where you will list down the day-to-day operations or transactions of the business. Identify the aspects that may require some improvements. Create a list of your needs so that it would become easy to hire the professionals who will be responsible for developing custom software. Knowing what you want is a good head start for your upcoming project with the said experts.

custom software development

Do Your Own Research

Take note that many companies are now engaged in providing application and software development services. Because of this, it can be challenging to find the ideal one for your business. As such, it is highly recommended to research first the top developers in your local community. Keep in mind that doing this is part of the due diligence process that you need to go through. You cannot just randomly hire a firm without knowing the credentials of their team members. At the same time, you can also check their company profiles.

custom software development

Ask For Referrals

Establishing strong and close ties with other businessmen is essential for your survival in the industry. For this reason, you are encouraged to network with other business owners who can provide you with some guidance or assistance. Once you have already achieved this, it will be easier on your part to seek referrals or recommendations from them. Feel free to inquire from these individuals if they can give you the name of the firm responsible for their custom software. Do not be ashamed to ask around.

Set Expectations Right

Never make the mistake of signing a contract with the custom software development company without discussing your expectations. Be sure to inform the professional developers about your needs ahead of time. Aside from this, you must also ask questions or clarifications. At this point, it is significant to emphasize the fact that it is necessary to create clear communication lines with your chosen business software or application developer. Make it a habit to be clear in providing instructions. Most importantly, never hesitate in discussing the timeline for the project. Set a reasonable deadline.

Be smart enough to hire the right company to help you with your custom software needs. Call us today.

Understanding Wi-Fi Security And How It Affects You

The latest advancements in the field of technology have improved the lives of many people all over the world. Nowadays, we can already take advantage of the availability of the Internet for our business transactions, entertainment needs, and even personal wants. Everyone can go online by directly connecting to a Wi-Fi network. While this technology provides unlimited benefits to different persons, it can also be dangerous especially when it exposes one to a cybersecurity threat.

Wi-Fi And Hackers

In a recent study conducted by IT experts, it was discovered that hackers were able to successfully crack the security layer that keeps Wi-Fi networks secure for various users. Unfortunately, this flaw in the WPA2 security protocol poses a significant danger to different people because hackers can now listen to communications made through the use of a gadget (tablet or smartphone) that is connected to a public Wi-Fi.

Because of this, you need to be extra careful when it comes to using your mobile devices while you are out in public. As much as possible, keep your Internet connection secured by using LTE or 3G mobile data.

How Hacking Happens

According to the same study, hackers found an effective way on how to manipulate, change or control the cryptographic elements behind the WPA2 security. These elements are made up of two combinations, namely a cryptographic key and an algorithm, which provides for the specific system to be followed in deciphering or encrypting data.

The moment you enter a password to access the Wi-Fi network, hackers are now given an opportunity to manipulate a specific process called key reinstallation attack (KRACK) that takes place on your phone. When this happens, they can start eavesdropping on your conversations or communications with other people.

best wifi security

Keeping Yourself Safe

Now that you are aware of the security risks that public Wi-Fi brings, then be sure to be careful in connecting to these free networks. Always keep in mind that this type of connection can compromise your online security. As such, it is crucial to follow some steps to keep you safe in this digital age:

  • Use VPN When Going Online. An excellent way of preventing others from gaining access to your device is by using a virtual private network (VPN). Through this, all your data can be encrypted, which can prevent unauthorized access to your mobile device.
  • Always Access Sites Using HTTPS. If you do not have a VPN installed on your private browsers, then the best thing to do is to use SSL connections. When checking a website, do not forget to type “https” in the URL.
  • Avoid FREE Wi-Fi Networks. As already mentioned above, you must learn how to control your Internet usage. Be sure to avoid connecting in public Wi-Fi networks, especially if the Internet is not a necessity at the moment.

Always keep in mind that hackers have diverse skills. There are those who have expertise in stealing information online by modifying WPA2 security protocols. Be smart enough to use private Internet connections to avoid being a victim of cybersecurity crimes. Neocode, a filemaker developer expert, develops applications that are always fully secure and cannot be hacked even if you are using the public-wifi.

 

 

How To Drive Value For Your Business

When it comes to doing business, one of the things that every entrepreneur must remember is the importance of investing in technology. Unfortunately, not all firms have sufficient resources to answer for this necessity. The reality is that there are still a lot of companies that are incapable of hiring the right developers to help them grow. This is why a lot of low-code platforms have been created to provide a solution to this problem.

The presence of these low-code platforms has proven to be beneficial for a lot of firms all over the world. In fact, experts predict that by the year 2020, the low-code tools will grow to around $15 billion. In this article, we are going to provide you with some tips on how you can drive value for your business through the use of these tools:

Always Start Small To Avoid Confusion

Keep in mind that low-code platforms are not easy to use, especially for the first-timers. For this reason, it is essential to start with those that are user-friendly. Take note that introducing these tools to your employees will be challenging, but it will start to become easier as long as you know how to do it the right way. Avoid overwhelming them with too much information about the tools. First, introduce the kinds of platforms that will be simple for them to familiarize.

Disseminate Information

Keeping employees in the loop is essential if you want them to embrace the new concept of using low-code tools. Tell everyone in the office about the availability of the platforms. Let them know beforehand that these tools may be complicated to use in the beginning, but they will get used to it. The goal here is to make the people in the workplace to become more active in the development process. It will give them a high sense of responsibility.

how-to-drive-value-for-your-business
Source: pexels.com

Focus On Training

At this point, it is essential to emphasize that training plays a vital role in the success of using low-code platforms for your business. As much as possible, do not skimp on training classes or seminars. Always see to it that you allot a budget as well as sufficient time to train the employers. Take note that they will not acquire the knowledge and skills in using the tools overnight. Be more patient in introducing the tools to your people.

Understand That Limits Exist

Remember that low-code platforms are not suitable for all cases. Each tool has a specific demand or needs that it responds to. You must learn when is the proper time to get in touch with the filemaker  consultant. No matter how much you try to avoid hiring one, there will come a time when you would need their knowledge and expertise to help you move forward with a project for the company. Low-code platforms may be helpful, but they are not the ultimate solution.

FileMaker Developers in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto