Business Planning and Strategy

10 Little Known Facts About Small Business in Canada

It may be labelled “small,” but small business in Canada is actually pretty big. More and more, Canadians are starting (and running) their own businesses—and this trend isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.

Here are 10 fascinating facts about Canadian small- and medium-sized businesses, from how many people we employ to how much we contribute to Canada’s economy.

Fact #1: Canada’s a great place to start a business. In 2011, the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index ranked us as the second best place in the world to launch a business, following only New Zealand. The Index, created by the World Bank, measures the simplicity of regulations, protection of property rights and their effect on economic growth.

Fact #2: Small companies are big business. Canada boasts over one million small businesses; in 2013, a remarkable 2.7 million Canadians identified themselves as self-employed.

Fact #3: Canada is a great place for women to run their own businesses. Almost 50% of small- and medium-sized businesses have some degree of female ownership, with 17% being majority owned by women. Our country has almost one million female entrepreneurs–that’s a higher percentage of self-employed people than any other country! And according to a recent study done by CIBC, although more start-ups are initiated by men (70%), female-led companies tend to stay in business longer.

Fact #4: Small businesses are major employers. Did you know that 48% of the Canadian private-sector workforce is employed by small businesses? That’s over 5.5 million jobs across the country. Plus, small businesses account for between 60% and 80% of all new-job creation, and over 28% of Canada’s total GDP.

Fact #5: Small is the new normal. According to Stats Canada, 75% of businesses employ fewer than five people, and 98% fewer than 100.

Fact #6: Small business isn’t easy. Every year, Canadians launch an average of 130,000 new small businesses. Only about 35% survive past the first five years.

Fact #7: New Canadians are more likely to start their own business. When compared to first and second generation Canadians, new immigrants launch 60% more businesses.

Fact #8: Most Canadian exporters are small businesses. In 2009, small companies represented $68 billion in exports–25% of Canada’s total.

Fact #9: Self-employed people work harder. This is likely not news to you, but the average work week for a self-employed person is five hours longer than that of an employee. Over 30% worked more than 50 hours a week, with an additional 4% working even more than that.

Fact #10: People want to be self-employed. The CIBC report says that 80% of new business owners decided to launch their own venture because they wanted to–not because they couldn’t find a job.

Sources: Statistics Canada, Industry Canada, British Colombia Statistical Services, CBC News, SB Partner LLP, Goforth Institute Small Business Training

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