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10 things you (probably) didn’t know about Canadian SMEs

Contributor: Business Development Bank of Canada

Small business is big in Canada: 98.1% of all businesses have fewer than 100 employees. When you add in medium-sized businesses (100 to 499 employees), the percentage rises to 99.8%. They are the engine of the economy and their success is vital to Canada’s prosperity.

Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and their impact on Canada’s economy.

  1. There are almost 1.2 million SMEs in Canada.
  2. More than half (55%) of them have fewer than 4 employees.
  3. Only 1.7% are medium-sized businesses.
  4. SMEs employed almost 64% of private sector workers in 2011, or 6.8 million people across the country.
  5. Over the 2001 to 2011 period, SMEs were responsible for 54% of all jobs created on average by the private sector.
  6. SMEs represent 54.3% of the economic output produced in the business sector (in 2005).
  7. 86% of exporting companies have fewer than 100 employees, but produce only 25% of the total value of Canadian exports.
  8. The largest number of SMEs are in the retail industry (13%).
  9. Fewer than 1 out of 4 Canadian SMEs invest in research and development (R&D).
  10. Only half of new firms (53%) survive their 5th year of operation.


Source: Statistics Canada.

That’s why for 33 years the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has been organizing Small Business Week.

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