Son of Five Rivers Blog

For the advancement of Entrepreneurship, Sustainability & the Ecology of Everyday Life

Best Province to do Business in Canada

Small business is a driving force in in British Columbia’s economy, employing over one million people and making up 98 per cent of all B.C. business.

  • In 2007, 98 per cent of all businesses in B.C. were small businesses, employing over one million people.
  • 46 per cent of all employment in B.C. is generated by businesses with fewer than 50 employees or self-employed workers.
  • Approximately 379,700 small businesses were operating in the province last year.
  • From 2002-07, the number of small businesses in B.C. grew by 8.8 per cent or by approximately 31,150 businesses.
  • Over 56 per cent of British Columbia’s private sector jobs are with small business – the highest rate in the country.
  • British Columbia’s small business GDP accounted for a third of total provincial GDP – the highest of all provinces.
  • 36 per cent of the self-employed in British Columbia were women – the second highest rate in the country.
Statistics related to small business are available at:
BC Stats
Data Services
553 Superior St.
Box 9410 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, B.C. V8W 9V1
Telephone: 250 387-0327

What is the size distribution of small businesses? The majority of small businesses in British Columbia are micro-businesses with fewer than five employees. In 2007, there were 314,200 such businesses comprising 83 per cent of the province’s small businesses. Of these, 58 per cent were operated by self-employed persons without paid help and the remaining 25 per cent employed one to four individuals.

Over the past five years, the province’s small business count expanded by an average of 6,000 per year or 1.8 per cent.1 The fastest-growing group in British Columbia’s small business sector has been businesses with five to 19 employees, which grew at an average annual rate of 3.2 per cent, with an average net addition of 1,500 new businesses per year. In terms of actual numbers, most of the new businesses were in the self-employed without paid help category, which grew an average of 2.7 per cent or 5,200 businesses each year over the five year period. Despite the overall increase in the number of small businesses, there were declines in some size categories. Businesses with one to four employees averaged a net loss of -0.6 per cent or 600 businesses per year, while those with 20 to 49 employees experienced an average net loss of -0.8 per cent or 100 businesses per year.

  • Small Business – There were approximately 379,700 small businesses operating in British Columbia in 2007. These operations accounted for 98 per cent of all businesses in the province. Micro-businesses, with fewer than five employees each, comprised 83 per cent of small businesses.
  • Small Businesses Per Capita – In 2007, British Columbia had more small businesses per capita than any other province with 86.7 small businesses per 1,000 people. Long-time leader Saskatchewan ranked second among provinces with 86.6 small businesses per 1,000 people followed by Alberta with 79.7.
  • Employment – Approximately 1,048,000 people were employed by small businesses in British Columbia in 2007. These jobs accounted for 56 per cent of private sector employment in the province, the highest rate in the country.
  • Employment Growth – Between 2006 and 2007, small business employment in British Columbia grew by 2.5 per cent, slightly faster than the national rate of 2.4 per cent.
  • Self-Employed – On average, the self-employed tend to be older, are more often men and are more likely to work longer hours than paid employees. Thirty-six per cent of the self-employed in British Columbia are women, the second highest rate in the country.
  • Gross Domestic Product – Among Canadian provinces, British Columbia had the highest proportion of Gross Domestic Product (approximately 33 per cent) attributed to small businesses.
  • High Technology Sector – Small businesses constituted about 96 per cent of employers in the high technology sector. In 2007, there were approximately 8,225 small businesses in the high technology sector.
  • Regional Focus – The Kootenay and Thompson-Okanagan regions had the highest rates of growth in self-employment over the last five years at 27.3 per cent and 24.9 per cent respectively.
  • Exports – Small businesses in British Columbia shipped approximately $12.2 billion worth of merchandise to international destinations in 2006, almost 37 per cent of the total value of goods exported from the province.
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August 29, 2009 - Posted by | Business, Business Model, Economics, Finance, Government | , ,

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