TORONTO, ON - Canada's Aboriginal business community is thriving, according to a national survey of Aboriginal-owned small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The Xerox Canada / Leger Marketing poll attributes much of this potential growth to new technology solutions that make it easier for smaller businesses to compete in the Canadian marketplace.

The survey revealed that 72 per cent of Aboriginal business owners plan to expand over the next five years, with more than half (51 per cent) planning to grow locally, and another fifth (21 per cent) expecting to expand nationally. Three-quarters (77 per cent) of the businesses surveyed said that scalable technology solutions, including colour printing and document management capabilities, are critical to business growth, and more than one-quarter plan to invest in upgraded document solutions over the next year.

On average, Aboriginal companies have gained from the benefits of colour printing longer than most Canadian small businesses, as most Aboriginal-owned businesses adopted colour around 2000, a year ahead of non-Aboriginal-owned SMBs, according to the same survey.

Of those companies that currently have colour printing capabilities, the majority (53 per cent) felt that colour printing had a direct impact on their ability to grow the business and another 64 per cent said that colour printing is important for continued growth.

The survey also revealed that Aboriginal companies have been faster than other Canadian businesses to adopt document management solutions (39 per cent vs. 34 per cent), and as a result they are less concerned about losing electronic documents than general business owners.

"Since our inception we have worked hard to promote Aboriginal business in Canada, and it's encouraging to see this important demographic come into its own in such a short period of time," says Chief Clarence Louie, Chairman, National Aboriginal Economic Development Board. "A stronger Aboriginal business community ultimately means a stronger Canada, and the support of companies like Xerox have enabled us to prosper in ways that would have been impossible as little as 10 years ago."

When asked about the greatest challenge facing Aboriginal businesses today 25 per cent said that finding quality staff was one of their greatest barriers to success.

"The Aboriginal community is a vital part of the Canadian economy, and it's important they have access to the same benefits and technological tools as other Canadian businesses," said Doug Lord, president and CEO, Xerox Canada. "Xerox Canada has supported the Aboriginal community for more than a decade, and through initiatives like our supplier diversity program, we are committed to the continual development of this important sector of Canadian industry."

Additional Findings:
  • 37 per cent of Aboriginal businesses plan to invest in workstation upgrades and 31 per cent plan to invest in Internet connectivity and security over the next 12 months
  • Survey participants estimate they spend two hours per week looking for hard copy documents, but 61 per cent said this time is significantly reduced when searching for electronic documents on a server.
  • On average, Aboriginal companies surveyed have nine full-time employees per location, and have been in business for 14 years
Media Contacts:

Laura Mergelas, Xerox Canada, 416-733-6216, laura.mergelas@xerox.com

Michael Minielly, Environics Communications, 416-969-2748, mminielly@environicspr.com

About the Survey

The national survey was conducted for Xerox Canada Ltd. by Leger Marketing between July 19 and August 2, 2006 with a representative sample of 331 small and medium-sized business owners or managers. The survey is considered accurate within +/- 5.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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