Small business accounts for 98% of all B.C. businesses

Dec 19 2017, 4:53 pm

According to the 2013 Small Business Profile, B.C. has the most small businesses per capita in Canada, at 83.5 per 1,000 people.

The Small Business Profile is a statistical report highlighting the major role that small business plays in B.C. and its impact on job creation, economic investment, exports and contributions to the province’s gross domestic product.

Highlights from the 2013 profile:

Standout Facts

  • Small businesses account for 98 per cent of all businesses in British Columbia.
  • There are 6,900 large businesses in B.C., making up for just two per cent of total businesses.
  • Small businesses employed more than one million people in the province in 2012.
  • Small business provides about 55 per cent of all private-sector jobs in B.C., the second-highest rate in Canada.
  • Small businesses account for 85 per cent of all exporters in B.C.
  • B.C. small businesses shipped approximately $12.2 billion worth of merchandise to international destinations in 2011, which accounts for 42 per cent of all the goods exported from the province.
  • About 385,900 small businesses were operating in the province in 2012, 82 per cent of which had fewer than five employees.
  • Of this figure, 216,800 (55 per cent) were self-employed businesses without any paid help and 169,100 were small businesses with less than 50 employees (43 per cent).
  • Approximately 26 per cent of B.C.’s GDP was generated by small business in 2012, the third-highest percentage among Canadian provinces.
  • British Columbia ranks first in Canada for the number of small business per capita, with 83.5 per 1,000 people.
  • The share of self-employed people in B.C. is the second highest in the country at 18.1 per cent, about three points above the national average of 15.2 per cent.
  • Women account for almost 38 per cent of self-employed people in British Columbia, the highest rate countrywide.

Job Creation

  • Between 2011 and 2012, small businesses created created 4,500 net new jobs across British Columbia, an increase of 0.4 per cent.
  • Between 2007 and 2012, the accommodation and food services industry was the largest provider of new jobs in B.C., creating nearly 4,600 net new jobs.


  • In British Columbia, 96 per cent of high technology businesses have fewer than 50 employees.
  • Between 2007 and 2012, there was a net gain of 330 new high technology small businesses in the province, an increase of 4.0 per cent.

Fast-Growing Sectors

  • Sectors with outstanding growth between 2007 and 2012 include:
    • The real estate sector is by far the leader in small business growth, with a net addition of almost 3,120 small businesses.
    • Professional, scientific and technical services added more than 1,000 new small businesses during this period.
    • The specialty trade contractors industry added about 850 new small business establishments.

Small business profile B.C.

Growing Regions

  • Regions that saw the most growth in the number of small businesses between 2007 and 2012 include:
    • Thompson-Okanagan, with an increase of 5.3 per cent, or 2,600 new businesses.
    • Vancouver Island/Coast, with an increase of 3.2 per cent, or 2,200 new businesses.


  • More British Columbians receive wages from small business than anywhere else in Canada. In 2012, small businesses accounted for 31 per cent of wages paid to workers – well above the national average of 26 per cent.

Small business profile B.C.

Thriving Exports

  • Small businesses in British Columbia shipped about $12.2 billion worth of merchandise in 2011, comprising 42 per cent of goods exported from the province.
  • Small businesses accounted for 85 per cent of all provincial exporters.

The Small Business Profile is produced by the B.C. government and BC Stats and is released during Small Business Month each October. The profile, which includes success stories from small-business owners throughout the province, is posted online. A special version is available for mobile devices.

“Business is the economic engine of our province, and small business is the fuel,” said Naomi Yamamoto, the Minister of State for Tourism and Small Business. “The 2013 Small Business Profile clearly demonstrates that small business is a significant contributor to B.C.’s economy, and I want thank the thousands of small-business owners in British Columbia who employ more than one million British Columbians.”

Small business is defined as a business with fewer than 50 employees, or self-employed without paid help. Ninety-eight per cent of B.C. businesses are classified as small businesses, and B.C.’s small business community contributes 26 per cent of the province’s gross domestic product.

According to Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson in 2011, “Vancouver has the most entrepreneurs per capita of any city in North America.”


Source: Government of B.C.
Featured Image: Hurst Photo / Shutterstock

DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

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