Canadian Businesses Turn to Web

A study of Canadian small business and e-commerce found that the Internet is rapidly becoming a mainstream business tool.

The SES Web Entrepreneurship Survey was conducted by SES Canada Research among 1,000 Canadian small businesses. It found that 61 percent of Canadian small businesses are currently using the Internet, and 78 percent believe the Internet’s impact will be positive. Almost three-quarters (72 percent) of Canadian small businesses believe the Internet opens new business opportunities for them.

E-commerce, which is still considered in its infancy, is growing thanks to the positive feelings surrounding the Internet. In the past year, SES found that 27 percent of Canadian small business owners conducted a financial transaction online. Another 41 percent are planning to do so in the next year.

Up to now, small business owners have seen the Internet largely as a communications and research tool, not as a medium for buying and selling,” said Nik Nanos, Managing Director at SES. “Canada’s entrepreneurs are being very strategic in how they make use of the Internet and that increasingly means getting involved in electronic commerce.”

When SES asked respondents that are not using the Internet to identify the main reason for not doing so, most indicated it was simply not yet relevant to their business. Almost half (47 percent) stated their were no barriers to using the Internet. Among those that did identify a barrier, lack of security (11 percent) and the concern that the Internet would require a lot of training(10 percent) led the way.

The SES survey was conducted among 1,000 randomly selected Canadian small businesses (less than 50 employees) in March of 1999 by telephone.

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