Small Business Profile 2019- A profile of small business in British Columbia

B.C. has a strong, diversified and growing economy. Small business continues to play a vital role, with the vast majority of businesses in the province – over half a million – having fewer than 50 employees. These small businesses support communities and jobs across the province and in all industries. This report profiles the impact and current state of the small
business sector in the B.C. economy. It presents year over year changes and multi-year trends, as well as comparisons with Canadian provinces. This profile is designed to support informed policy and decision making related to small business. The data that is presented helps support government and industry in understanding the current state of small business in B.C., and the potential that the sector has to drive continued prosperity. The small business sector in B.C. is a vital part of the economy, more so than in most other provinces. In 2018, B.C. ranked second among provinces in number of small businesses per capita (101.9 per 1,000 people), marginally behind Alberta. B.C. led all provinces in growth in the number of small businesses between 2014 and 2018, as well as in small business job growth between 2013 and 2018. Small Businesses are distributed across the province and provide many of the goods and services that support larger resource companies. Most regions of the province recorded increases in the number of small businesses between 2014and 2018. The North Coast and Nechako region saw the strongest growth, with the small business count climbing 31.9 per cent. It is likely that these new small business are being created in the North to support the activities surrounding the $40 billion investment by LNG Canada. Self-employed people in B.C. tend to be older and male, with 61 per cent aged 45 or older, and 62 per cent male. However, self employment among women is growing in B.C., and is on pace with the rest of Canada. For many reasons it is harder for youth to start businesses, and they are more frequently employees than self-employed. B.C.’s economy is growing steadily, and job growth in B.C. is on pace with the rest of the country. The small business sector is a key instrument of job creation and economic
growth, and B.C. leads other provinces in gross domestic product (GDP) generated by small business, at 34 per cent of overall provincial GDP. B.C. is also first among provinces in small business job growth at 7.7 per cent over the last five years. Small business represents nearly 1.1 million workers, or 53 per cent of private sector employment, and almost one third of the provincial payroll. B.C. has an open, diversified economy with trading partners across the globe. B.C. is the province with the highest percentage of international exports that leave North America, at 51 per cent. Of international exporters in B.C., 85 per cent are small businesses, responsible for $15.8 billion in exports, or 32 per cent of total provincial exports.

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