Canadian business owners’ confidence in the state of the economy and their business prospects has risen compared to earlier this year, with more than half of entrepreneurs expecting 2015 will be a better year for their company, new research shows.

BMO Financial Group unveils this finding in its semi-annual “BMO Small Business Confidence Report,” which produces an index score that measures the confidence small business owners have in the economy and their business prospects based on a series of key indicators, including their predictions for performance, economic outlook, growth expectations and plans for investment.

Based on a telephone survey by Pollara, the report polled 502 Canadian business owners

As a single-figure snapshot of small business confidence, the current index score registers at 68 out of 100, up slightly from this past spring (65 out of 100).

“Small Business Month is around the corner, and according to the semi-annual outlook, Canadian small business owners believe their organizations are in good health and are picking up momentum in order to rebuild the solid business foundation of previous years,” says Steve Murphy, head of Canadian Commercial Banking at BMO Bank of Montreal. “Of particular interest, business owners from nearly every province, have an increased level of optimism compared to earlier this year.”

Here’s a breakdown of BMO small business confidence index scores nationally and by Canadian province:

OUTLOOK

NATIONAL

BC

AB

PRAIRES

ON

QC

ATL

Confidence Index Score

Fall ’14

68

75

69

65

66

64

66

Spring ’14

65

69

70

61

67

58

63

Fall ’13

70

74

73

60

70

70

68

Spring ’13

59

64

59

54

59

57

62

2015 Expected to be Better for Business: Business owners across the country share a positive outlook for the year ahead; up three points from March 2014.

 

Overall

B.C.

AB

PRAIRIES

ON

QC

ATL

Believe 2015 will be better for business

59%

64%

66%

61%

56%

55%

63%

Believe 2015 will be worse for business

14%

6%

15%

24%

20%

7%

18%

View on the Economy: More than half of Canadian business owners believe the economy for the remainder of 2014; up from 47 percent in the spring.

 

Overall

B.C.

AB

PRAIRIES

ON

QC

ATL

Expect the economy to be better for the rest of 2014

51%

61%

58%

65%

47%

41%

56%

Expect the economy to be worsen for the rest of 2014

9%

4%

5%

12%

11%

11%

10%

Growth Prospects: Businesses owners are five times more likely to expect their business to growth rather than shrink, up 5 percent compared to this last spring.

 

Overall

B.C.

AB

PRAIRIES

ON

QC

ATL

Expect business to grow in 2015

51%

59%

48%

40%

54%

45%

56%

Expect business to shrink in 2015

8%

7%

6%

12%

9%

7%

10%

Investing in 2015: One-quarter of business owners plan to invest more in their business in 2015, down from 28 percent earlier this year.

 

Overall

B.C.

AB

PRAIRIES

ON

QC

ATL

Plan to invest more in 2015

25%

38%

20%

22%

25%

19%

24%

Plan to invest less in 2015

16%

8%

9%

21%

18%

20%

15%