Issue 16-197: Small Business in B.C.

October 19, 2016

British Columbia small businesses generated approximately 35% of the province’s gross domestic product in 2015, well above the Canadian average of 32%. This measure indicates that small business in British Columbia plays a more significant role in the provincial economy than it does in most other parts of the country.

There were approximately 388,500 small businesses operating in British Columbia in 2015, representing about 98% of all businesses in the province. About 79% of small businesses are micro businesses with fewer than five employees. Between 2014 and 2015, the growth rate for micro businesses in British Columbia was 1.4%, an addition of approximately 4,300 businesses. British Columbia ranked first in the country in terms of small businesses per capita in 2015, with 83.0 small businesses per 1,000 people. The national average was 70.3.

The Northeast region recorded the fastest net growth in the number of small businesses between 2014 and 2015, at 16.0%.

In 2015, an estimated 1,030,200 people worked in small businesses in British Columbia. These jobs accounted for 55% of private-sector employment in the province, well above the national average of 49% and enough to rank British Columbia second in the country. There was a 1.9% boost in employment in British Columbia’s small business sector between 2014 and 2015. Both the numbers of self-employed (+4.4%) and employees of small businesses in British Columbia (+0.3%) increased.

The accommodation and food services industry was the largest provider of new small business jobs in British Columbia between 2010 and 2015, with a net addition of 11,360 jobs. The fastest rate of employment growth was seen in the information and cultural services sector, which saw a 26.6% increase in employment (a net addition of 1,930 jobs) over the five-year period.

Small business exporters in British Columbia shipped almost $12.9 billion worth of goods to international destinations in 2014, accounting for 36% of the total value of goods exported from the province.

The complete Small Business Profile 2016 Report is available for download.

Data Source: BC Stats, Small Business Profile 2016