SME Profile: Ownership demographics statistics

The 2017 Survey on Financing and Growth of Small and Medium Enterprises was designed to determine the types of financing used by SMEs, and to collect information on recent attempts by SMEs to obtain new financing. In addition, the survey gathers data on SMEs’ growth, activities related to growth and business-owner characteristics.

The target population for the survey was private sector, for-profit SMEs employing between 1 and 499 people and generating over $30,000 in annual revenues in 2017. The target population of over 730,000 SMEs was stratified by geography, employment and industry, with random samples selected from these strata to generate representative estimates. The survey was conducted by Statistics Canada from February to June 2018. The sample size was 17,323 SMEs, with a response rate of 59.7 percent.

The survey asked respondent firms questions about the demographics of both firm ownership and the primary decision maker. In particular, respondents were asked for the percentage of ownership that was comprised of women; Aboriginal1 persons; persons from a visible minority group, other than Aboriginal persons; person(s) with a disability and members of the same family. Majority ownership for a given demographic was based upon that demographic owning more than 50 percent of the business.

Respondents were also asked about the place of birth, age and education level of the primary decision maker, defined as the person primarily responsible for making decisions about the business (e.g., majority owner, chairman of the board of directors or general manager). See the methodology report and questionnaire for further details.

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