TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 25, 2011) - Today, the Harper Government recognized 2011 as the Year of the Entrepreneur, highlighting the essential role that small and medium-sized businesses will play in securing Canada's ongoing economic recovery. The announcement was made by the Honourable Rob Moore, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism), and the Honourable Ted Menzies, Minister of State (Finance).

"Our government's top priority is the economy," said Minister of State Moore. "As we move into the next phase of Canada's Economic Action Plan, Canada's outstanding entrepreneurs and the small and medium-sized business community will play even greater roles in securing our fragile economic recovery. Designating 2011 as the Year of the Entrepreneur marks the symbolic beginning of the new phase of that recovery."

The Year of the Entrepreneur designation also recognizes the enormous contribution of our entrepreneurs to Canada's current economic success, and the resilience and innovation Canadian entrepreneurs demonstrated during the most challenging days of the global economic recession. This designation also coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and the 15th anniversary of the Canadian Youth Business Foundation.

"Canada's continued economic recovery will be stimulated by the private sector, and our goal is to make it easier for small businesses to invest and create jobs," said Minister of State Menzies. "Our government has already dramatically reduced taxes for Canada's entrepreneurs and job creators, and we have aggressively cut the red tape they face. Throughout 2011, we will continue to work with the small business community to ensure that it is best positioned to continue doing what it does best: drive the economy forward."


2011: Year of the Entrepreneur

The Harper Government is committed to supporting small businesses and has established programs and services to stimulate economic growth, create more jobs for Canadians and help businesses compete and succeed in the global marketplace. The government's designation of 2011 as the Year of the Entrepreneur marks a new phase in Canada's Economic Action Plan and begins building on the significant action the government has already taken to help entrepreneurs do what they do best: drive the economy forward.

Since taking office, the Harper Government has taken the following action for small business:

  • Tax Relief: The Harper Government has delivered more than $200 billion in tax relief to Canadians since 2006, enabling entrepreneurs to put more of their revenues back into their businesses. The amount of business income eligible for the small business tax rate of 11 percent was raised to $500,000 from $300,000.

  • Cutting Red Tape: The Harper Government has eliminated almost 80,000 red tape requirements for small and medium-sized businesses since 2009. Most recently, Prime Minister Stephen Harper launched the Red Tape Reduction Commission on January 13, 2011, in order to find further ways to reduce the burden of federal regulatory requirements on Canadian enterprises. Budget 2010: Leading the Way on Jobs and Growth created a private sector committee, the Advisory Committee for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, to provide the government with information, advice and recommendations on the most important concerns facing Canada's small businesses.

  • Help for Small Businesses: Through Canada's Economic Action Plan, the Harper Government is delivering $15 million annually to support the Canada Business network. Canada Business provides essential information to help business owners start up and grow their businesses, all of which is available through a national website, a national toll-free telephone line and 13 regional service centres. The government also established BizPaL, another online service that simplifies the business permit and licence process for entrepreneurs, governments, and third-party business service providers.

  • Business Financing: The Canada Small Business Financing Program supports about $1 billion in loans to approximately 10,000 small businesses each year to help them get started or make improvements and expand. The government raised the maximum loan amount under this program to $350,000 from $250,000 and up to $500,000 for real property, as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan.

  • Commercializing Research: The Harper Government is supporting the commercialization of research and development for small and medium-sized businesses through programs such as the Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Innovation Commercialization Program, or "Kickstart," that was launched in 2010 with $40 million over two years to improve their productivity and competitiveness.

  • Promoting Entrepreneurship: Through Canada's Economic Action Plan, the Harper Government provided the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) with $10 million in funding over two years to give young entrepreneurs access to business loans and mentoring services to help them start up and operate new businesses. In addition, each year, the Small Business Internship Program helps about 400 students across Canada gain valuable experience and helps entrepreneurs adopt an active e-business strategy that adds to their competitiveness.

  • Debit and Credit Code of Conduct: Introduced by the Harper Government, and passed into law last year, this Code encourages choice and competition in the credit and debit market for the benefit of consumers and merchants. It promotes fair business practices and ensures merchants and consumers clearly understand the costs and benefits of credit and debit cards. It also gives merchants increased pricing flexibility to encourage consumers to choose the lowest-cost payment option. And it allows merchants to freely choose which payment options they will accept.

Contact Information: Office of the Honourable Rob Moore
Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism)
Catherine Godbout
613-668-5406 (cell)
Industry Canada
Media Relations
Office of the Honourable Ted Menzies
Minister of State (Finance)
Annette Robertson
Department of Finance Canada
Media Relations