Issue 17-126 Small Business Profile 2017

October 16, 2017

There were a total of 396,100 small businesses operating in British Columbia in 2016, representing around 98% of all businesses in the province. This was a 1.9% increase over the small business count in 2015. At 82.8 per 1,000 people, British Columbia had the most small businesses per capita in the country. The national average was 69.9 per 1,000 people.

Most of the small businesses operating in the province have fewer than five employees. In 2016, 79% of small businesses in B.C. fit this description.

Around 1,056,300 British Columbians worked in small businesses in 2016, accounting for 54% of private-sector employment, well above the national average of 49%. This is an increase of about 31,600 from 2015, a growth rate of 3.1%. There was an increase in the count of both self-employed (+1.8%) and employees of small business (+4.0%). Over the last five years (2011-2016), B.C.’s small business job growth was 5.1%, exceeding the national average of 4.2%.

From 2011 to 2016, the fastest growth in small business employment was in information and cultural services, at 19.2%. The construction industry added the most small business jobs over that period, increasing employment by around 14,400, a growth rate of 17.5%.

British Columbia small businesses accounted for around 34% of the province’s gross domestic product in 2016, well above the Canadian average of 31%. This is down slightly from 2015, when 35% of GDP was generated by B.C.’s small businesses.

Small businesses were the source of 32% of all wages paid to workers in B.C. in 2016, the highest share of all provinces and well above the national average of just under 27%.

In 2015, small business exporters in British Columbia shipped around $15.8 billion worth of goods to international destinations, accounting for 42% of the total value of goods exported from the province.

The complete Small Business Profile 2017 Report is available for download.

Data Source: BC Stats, Small Business Profile 2017