Issue 19-165 Small Business Profile

October 21, 2019

In 2018, British Columbia’s small business GDP accounted for 34% of the provincial GDP, well above the Canadian average of 30%.  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.

The number of businesses in British Columbia in 2018 totalled 517,100, about 98% of which were small businesses. Between 2014 and 2018, B.C. led the country in growth, with the number of small businesses climbing 11.1 per cent, well above the national average rate of growth of 4.3 per cent. Manitoba, Ontario and P.E.I. also exceeded the national rate of growth.  In terms of small businesses per capita, British Columbia ranked second among the provinces in 2018, with 101.9 small businesses per 1,000 people.

Approximately 1,090,700 jobs in B.C. were derived from small business in 2018, accounting for 44% of total employment in the province. In 2018, employment in B.C.’s small business sector inched down 0.1 per cent. The slight downturn was the result of a 1.5 per cent decline in small businesses with employees offsetting a 2.0 per cent boost in self-employment.

Between 2013 to 2018, the construction sector recorded the strongest increase in small business employment in B.C., adding jobs at a rate of 26.6 per cent.  This sector was also the leader in terms of absolute number of net new jobs, with employment climbing by more than 22,500 over the five-year period. The professional, scientific and technical services and educational services sectors tied for second in growth (+19.4 per cent each).

There was a total of 7,131 British Columbian businesses exporting goods to destinations outside of Canada in 2018, 6,089 of which were businesses with fewer than 50 employees.  The number of small business exporters was up 3.1 per cent from 2017 and represented 85 per cent of all exporting businesses.

The complete Small Business Profile 2019 report is available for download.