Newsroom > Entrepreneurial Sentiment Remains Strong in Canada Despite Cash Flow Worries

Entrepreneurial Sentiment Remains Strong in Canada Despite Cash Flow Worries

A survey of Canadian small business owners by Ownr – an RBCx venture – reveals the impact of inflation and economic uncertainty on small business owners.

TORONTO, ON, October 16, 2023Ownr, a leading Canadian small business and legal management platform, released new data today that shows how cash flow continues to be a primary concern for small business owners, leading some to raise their prices. Despite these hurdles, small business owners remain optimistic about the future and are actively leveraging technology as both a strategic tool and an educational resource to enhance their business operations.

Key Findings:

  • Optimism is growing despite cash flow concerns – Cash flow is the most significant concern for almost half (47.5%) of small business owners, however, as they adapt to inflation and rising costs, half (49.7%) of respondents feel more optimistic about their business plans now than they did six months ago.
  • Small businesses increase prices to manage rising cost of doing business – Half of small business owners (53.1%) have raised their prices as a result of inflation and rising costs.
  • Entrepreneurs are leaning on technology as both a tool and educational resource – 69.4 per cent of small business owners say they rely significantly on technology to run their business operations.
  • Diverse paths to entrepreneurial success – 39.9 per cent of small business owners started their business at age 45+. Only about half (54.1 per cent) received any formal business education, and the majority (80.7%) bootstrapped their business.

Optimism growing as small business owners adapt to economic conditions

The survey reveals an increasing sense of optimism among Canadian small business owners, despite facing challenging economic conditions and cash flow concerns. Nearly half (49.7%) of respondents indicated they feel more optimistic about their business plans now compared to six months ago. To manage rising expenses, many small businesses have decided to adjust their pricing strategies. About 53.1 per cent of small business owners have increased their prices in response to inflation and rising costs, and 28 per cent reported having raised prices by more than 10 per cent. While this is a slight increase from the spring of 2023, when 23.3 per cent reported such price hikes, it demonstrates the impact that inflation and rising costs are having on small businesses.

Leveraging technology as a tool and educational resource

As small business owners adapt to these economic conditions, many are finding success in optimizing how they run their businesses through technology. The majority (69.4%) of small business owners indicated they significantly rely on technology to run their businesses, and more than half have taken advantage of online educational resources to learn more about business and entrepreneurship, including online courses or workshops (57.6%) and YouTube videos and blogs (55.7%).

“I’m encouraged to see small business owners adapting to the inflationary environment and rising costs. They’re finding creative ways to navigate the challenges and maintain a positive outlook for their businesses,” said Shane Murphy, CEO of Ownr. “It’s clear that technology is playing an increasingly crucial role in supporting small business owners by reducing costs and boosting efficiency. At Ownr, we’re excited about our contribution to their entrepreneurial journey, both as technology providers and as an educational resource. We’re committed to empowering entrepreneurs at every step of their business growth, and we look forward to innovating our service offerings to support their needs.”

Redefining the path to entrepreneurship

It’s never too late to pursue one’s entrepreneurial dreams, and the latest survey results were a testament to that sentiment with a significant portion (39.9%) of small business owners indicating they started their ventures later in life at age 45+.

The conventional notion that a formal degree or education is needed to become an entrepreneur is also being challenged. Today, only half (54.1%) of surveyed small business owners indicated they received any formal business education. This indicates that successful business ownership can be achieved through various paths and the digital democratization of information has made it easier for entrepreneurs to seek a wealth of guidance, resources and tools beyond traditional classrooms.

Interested in starting your own business? Ownr can help you register, incorporate, create legal agreements, manage employees and more. Visit to get started.

About Ownr

Ownr is on a mission to help make Canadian small business a big deal. With our all-in-one digital platform, everyday entrepreneurs can streamline registration and incorporation, automate paperwork, and maintain ongoing compliance—all without the high legal fees and confusing jargon. Join over 125,000 Canadians who launched their dream business with Ownr.
Ownr is a venture of RBCx, a division of Royal Bank of Canada. For more information, visit

About RBCx

RBCx powers bold ideas, founders, and technology companies. We know building great businesses takes more than just finance, which is why our four pillars – Banking, Capital, Platform, and Ventures – combine to make us the go-to backer of Canadian innovation. We use our deep expertise to support businesses of all sizes and stages, and leverage RBC’s extensive experience, networks, and capital to solve tomorrow’s big problems.

Media Contact:

Anne-Marie Tremble | | 613-914-3551

The survey, conducted between August 17, 2023, to September 13, 2023, captures the responses of 762 participants based in Canada via an online questionnaire provided to Ownr’s customer database. Every participant identified that they have started their business. The results of this report have an estimated 3 per cent margin of error.