Small business is booming in Canada — in fact, they make up the majority of the country’s economy. From tiny one-person shops to larger operations, these companies are Canada’s driving force. Whether you’re conducting market research or considering starting a business, it’s helpful to understand the business community across the country.
How Many Small and Medium Enterprises Operate in Canada?
According to the government’s 2016 Key Small Business Statistics report there were 1.17 million businesses in Canada at the end of 2015. If you’re thinking of starting small, you’re in good company — 97.9 percent of those operations were small businesses. Just 1.8 percent were medium businesses, and 0.3 percent qualified as large businesses. Want to know if you’re running a small, medium, or large company? The government considers you a small business if you have between 1 and 99 employees, including yourself. Medium companies have 100-499 employees, and large businesses have 500 or more employees.
Depending on your province, you’re probably seeing similar numbers. In British Columbia, for example, 98 percent of businesses qualify as small. By BC government standards, this includes only companies with 1-49 employees. In Ontario, the numbers are even higher — a whopping 99.5 percent of companies have between 1-99 workers.
How Many People Work for Small Businesses in Canada?
If you run a small business in Canada, you’re playing an important role in the labour force. The 2016 government report noted that small businesses support 70.5 percent of the Canadians that work in the private sector. Medium-sized businesses also make a big impact, with 19.8 percent of the private labour force.
Chances are, your small company probably contributes to the number of jobs that are available in Canada each year. The government measures the net change in employment, which is simply the difference between the number of jobs that were added and lost. Small businesses cause 87.7 percent of that change. Some areas are growing faster than others — if you work in construction or transportation and warehousing, you may be experiencing this firsthand.
How Are Small Businesses Getting Financing?
Do you need funding for your company? You’re not alone — according to the government 51.3 percent of SMEs needed to find financing from outside in 2014, the last year that research data was available. This could include everything from business loans to money from investors. When you’re first getting started, it can be difficult to find business financing because your company doesn’t have a credit history or collateral yet. In fact, 80 percent of startups face these problems. To overcome these challenges, Canadian entrepreneurs often use personal financing to get their companies off of the ground.
Who Is Running Canada’s Small Businesses?
If you run a woman-owned business in Canada, you’re in the minority. Just 15.7 percent of SMEs are owned by women. Another 19.7 percent have a split male/female ownership. That means that 64.6 percent of Canadian SMEs are owned by men. These numbers could be changing soon — as of April 2018, the government is funding a variety of programs to help more women start businesses.
Interestingly, you don’t need a college degree to start a business. Just 38 percent of small business owners in Canada have a bachelor’s or master’s degree. That number rises to 60 percent among medium-sized business owners.
Whether you’re starting a new business or growing an existing one, the numbers are in your favor. Canada’s small business community is large and thriving, and welcomes new entrepreneurs from all backgrounds.