Small Business Profile 2019

Published: Oct 24, 2019
Last Updated: Dec 2, 2019

The British Columbia provincial government releases a report on the small business landscape every year. In this year’s report you will find out how small businesses impact the BC economy and how today’s small business landscape compares to previous years and the rest of Canada.

“Small business” refers to both small businesses that have 0-50 employees and micro-businesses with less than 5 employees.

Before accessing the full report here, below are some key highlights:

Key 2018 Statistics
  • Almost 1.1 million British Columbians have worked in a small business
  • BC small businesses paid 32% of all wages in BC
  • 6,089 small businesses exported goods outside Canada
Small Businesses are Significant to BC’s Economy

Small businesses provide many of the goods and services that support larger resources companies in Canada. BC is ranked second out of all Canadian provinces in the number of small businesses per capita at 101.9 per 1,000 people, right behind Alberta. The North Coast and Nechako region saw the strongest growth in BC with its small businesses making up 31.9% of all businesses there. This growth is likely in response to the $40 billion investment by LNG Canada and activities related to it.

More Diversity in BC`s Small Business Landscape

Self-employed people in BC are generally older (61% are 45+ years) and male (62%). However, the number of female entrepreneurs are growing in BC, on pace with the rest of Canada.

Small Businesses Key to Job Creation and Economic Growth

Out of all other Canadian provinces, BC leads in GDP from small businesses (34% of BC GDP). BC has also seen the highest small business growth among other provinces at 7.7% over the last 5 years. Small businesses also employ 1.1 million workers in BC, provide 53% of all private sector employment, and pay out 32% of all wages in BC.

Small Businesses Making a Mark in the Global Economy

BC small businesses have trading partners across the globe, making up 85% of all international exporters making BC the biggest international exporter to destinations outside of North America (51%). In 2018, BC small businesses exported $15.8 billion and 32% of total provincial exports. 

British Columbia Offers Favourable Climates for Small Business Growth

At 2%, BC has one of the lowest small business tax rates in Canada right after Manitoba (0%) and is on par with Alberta and Saskatchewan. BC also leads in highest growth in value of issued building permits at 22.9% (Canadian average is 4.7%), indicating strong building activity. BC also reports the lowest small business bankruptcy rates in Canada at 0.1 per 1,000 businesses while the Canadian average is 0.7 per 1,000 businesses.

The original report was developed by the Government of British Columbia and can be accessed here. For more information and resources available, please click here.

Interested in how these compare to previous years? Refer to our past summaries of the Small Business Profile:
Small Business Profile 2014
Small Business Profile 2013
Small Business Profile 2012


BC Small Business Profile 2019
(2019 October 24)

Photo by Mike Petrucci on Unsplash

Small Business Profile

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