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16 Facts About Small Businesses in Canada


You can’t deny the facts — small businesses are an absolutely critical part of Canada’s economy, prosperity, and future.

According to the Canada Revenue Agency, a small business is defined as having fewer than 100 paid employees, with medium-sized businesses having 100-499 employees. Larger businesses are defined as having 500 or more workers.

Did you know that…

  1. Nearly 70 per cent of Canada’s total private labour force are people who work for small businesses.
  2. For much of the past decade, small business employers created 77.7 per cent of all private jobs.
  3. Ontario and Quebec are home to 57 per cent of all Canadian businesses, while the Western provinces account for 36 per cent. The Northern regions account for 0.3 per cent of the country’s employer businesses.
  4. Canada is home to 950,000 self-employed women, who make up about one-third of all self-employed people here.
  5. Nearly one in seven Canadian small businesses are owned solely by women.
  6. In a 2012 study, 71 per cent of women surveyed said they would like to start their own business.
  7. About 150,000 new small businesses are created in this country each year.
  8. Little more than half of small businesses survive past their fifth year.
  9. Small businesses contribute about 30 per cent to Canada’s total GDP.
  10. Approximately 19 per cent of immigrants are self-employed, compared to 15 per cent of those born in Canada.
  11. One in five Canadians say they plan to start their own business in five years.
  12. The average self-employed Canadian works 50 hours a week, compared to 37 hours a week for average full-time employees.
  13. There are more than 1.1 million employer businesses in Canada. Of that number, 98 per cent are small businesses.
  14. Only about 24 per cent of small business owners have a succession plan in place for when they retire.
  15. More than 65 per cent of small business owners have a postsecondary education.
  16. Small businesses account for 31 per cent of Canada’s annual spending on research and development.

Bonus Fact: Many small business owners aren’t aware of the many forms of financing available to them. That’s why we’ve created the Ultimate Guide to Small Business Loans so you can understand which options will best suit your needs.


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About the Author



Lendified is Canada's premier online lender for small businesses. The company was founded by former bank executives dedicated to provide businesses with fast, easy, and affordable financing. The Lendified team regularly produces blogs and guides to help small business owners succeed.

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