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Statistics on Starting a Business in Canada

Canadian Small Business Statistics

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How many people are interested in starting a business in Canada? What kinds of small businesses would they like to start? What do these people see as the most daunting challenges to their starting a business plans? How easy is it to start a business in Canada compared to other countries?

These Canadian small business statistics I've put together from various sources answer these questions about starting a business in Canada and more. You can use them for market research or reports if you like, as long as you properly cite the sources.

Statistics on Starting a Business in Canada

BMO Survey: If I Had a Million Dollars... I Would Start a Small Business, June 16, 2011

Every year an average of 130,000 new businesses start up.

Responses to the question "If you won $1 million and had the chance to open a new business, what would it be?"

  • boutique or specialty store - 25 percent
  • franchises, such as McDonald's or Tim Horton's – 17 percent
  • an online business – 9 percent
  • a coffee shop – 8 percent
  • a restaurant (non-franchise) – 7 percent
  • personal services (from hairstyling through auto repair to landscaping) – 3 percent

Being the "Boss of Me" Appeals to Canadians: RBC Poll, May 2011

"One-third (32 per cent) of Canadians who don't own a business like the idea of being their own boss and one-fifth (20 per cent) are thinking about starting up their own business within the next five years, according to the most recent RBC Canadian Consumer Outlook."

"Considering 12 per cent of Canadians are currently self-employed, seeing another 20 per cent interested in being their own boss is indeed significant," said Mike Michell, national director, Small Business, RBC.

Comparing those who are thinking of starting a business with those who are already running one:

Top challenges

  • those who don't own a business: getting enough money to start or expand (28 percent) and finding clients (14 percent)
  • current business owners: getting enough money to start or expand and finding clients (66 percent)

How long it takes for a new business to make money

  • those who don't own a business: up to three years (40 percent)
  • current business owners : it took less than a year for their business to break even (41 percent)

Nicole Troster, Perspectives on Small Business in Canada, Canadian Federation of Independent Business, July 2011

92 percent of Canadians would approve of an immediate family member starting a business.

86 percent of Canadians disagree with the statement "Starting and operating a business is easy".

Responses to the question "What prevents you from going into business for yourself?"

  • lack of money - 57 percent
  • the amount of risk involved - 40 percent
  • uncertainty about the success of the business - 36 percent
  • lack of skills or knowledge - 29 percent
  • lack of resources - 22 percent

Responses to the question "Why did you become a business owner?"

  • To be my own boss and make my own decisions – 60 percent
  • To make better use of my skills and knowledge – 37 percent
  • To have a more flexible schedule – 30 percent
  • Financial opportunity – 30 percent
  • Had a great idea for a business I wanted to pursue - 19 percent
  • Other suitable jobs were not available - 17 percent

Doing Business Report, The World Bank, 2011

"The Doing Business Project provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 183 economies and selected cities at the subnational and regional level".

In the 2011 Doing Business Report, Canada ranked third in the ease of starting a business Canada. According to the detailed data on starting a business, starting a business in Canada requires only one procedure, it takes on average five days to register a firm, and the cost, as calculated in percentage of income per capita, is 0.4 percent. Read more about Canada's rankings in this report.

Nestor E. Arellano, One in three Canadians eager to start their own business, itbusiness.ca, May 6, 2010

A survey conducted for Intuit Inc. by Angus Reid showed one-in-three Canadians is interested in starting their own business in the next two years - and 35 percent of this group said they are likely to follow through on their plans.

The top reasons respondents wanted to start a business were:

  • having control over their own destiny - 52 percent
  • not having to work for someone else - 41 percent
  • making more money - 37 percent
  • a better quality of life – 29 percent
  • a sense of accomplishment – 24 percent

More men than women are interested in starting a business (41 percent vs. 25 percent).

More men than women think a better quality of life is the best part of starting a business (12 percent vs. 7 percent).

More women than men value the sense of accomplishment arising from starting a business (27 percent vs. 21 percent).

More Canadian Small Business Statistics

Statistics on How Many Canadian Small Businesses There Are
Statistics on Where Most Canadian Small Businesses Are Located
Statistics on the impact of Small Business on the Canadian Economy
Statistics on What Canadian Small Businesses Are Like
Statistics on What It's Like to Be a Canadian Small Business Owner
Statistics on Canadian Women in Business
More Small Business Statistics on Canadian Women in Business

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