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StartCanada Blog

The StartCanada Blog provides insights about some of the work that we’re doing; including web design / development, design thinking, social media marketing, small business information, trends, tips, ideas and inspiration for start-ups, professionals, non-profits and small businesses.

Canada's Best Places for Business 2015

The Top 10 Overall

  1. Milton, Ontario
  2. Calgary, Alberta
  3. Winnipeg, Manitoba
  4. Burlington, Ontario
  5. Whitby, Ontario
  6. Strathcona County, Alberta
  7. Oakville, Ontario
  8. Ajax, Ontario
  9. Brampton, Ontario
  10. Grand Prairie, Alberta

Most Lucrative Markets

  1. Milton, Ontario
  2. Strathcona County, Alberta
  3. Calgary, Alberta

Most Affordable Cities

  1. Montreal, Quebec
  2. Moncton, Alberta
  3. London, Ontario

Most Business Friendly Cities

  1. Winnipeg, Manitoba
  2. Delta, British Columbia
  3. Victoria, British Columbia

Source/s: Canadian Business Magazine, November 2015
Photo: © Angelo Narciso, Royal Canadian Mint, Winnipeg, Manitoba

The Big Impact of Small Business in Alberta

  • Small businesses account for 95% of all businesses in Alberta and more than 33% of private sector employment
  • Small businesses in Alberta had the second fastest growth in the period 2003-2013
  • 36.3% of small businesses are based in Calgary
  • 29.2% of small businesses are in Edmonton/Capital Region

Source/s: Alberta Venture Magazine, November 2015

Risk Is Everything

As with the Nike campaign above and the following words of Petra Moser, assistant professor of economics at Stanford and its Europe Center, is risk, or that fearless culture, the key ingredient that drives US tech giants?

Mosler compares Europe and the US:

  • They’re trying to recreate Silicon Valley in places like Munich, so far with little success. The institutional and cultural differences are still too great.
  • In Europe, failure is regarded as a personal tragedy. Here it’s something of a badge of honor. An environment like that doesn’t encourage as much risk-taking and entrepreneurship.
  • If you don’t do well at age 18, you’re out. That cuts out a lot of people who could do better but never get the chance. The person who does best at a test of rote memorization at age 17 may not be innovative at 23. The American education system is much more forgiving. Students can catch up and go on to excel. European children may be better behaved, but American children may end up being more free to explore new things.
  • American companies allow their employees to leave and try something else. Then, if it works, great, the mother company acquires the start-up. If it doesn’t, they hire them back. It’s a great system. It allows people to experiment and try things. In Germany, you can’t do that. People would hold it against you. They’d see it as disloyal. It’s a very different ethic.
  • In Europe, stability is prized. Inequality is much less tolerated. There’s a culture of sharing. People aren’t so cutthroat. Money isn’t the only thing that matters. These may be good things.

Source: A Fearless Culture Fuels U.S. Tech Giants, New York Times

The Future: An Outsourced Economy

  • A growing skilled freelancer economy is taking shape to meet the temporary needs of employers
  • Repeat transactions between businesses and their favourite freelancers will play an increasingly important role in the new outsourced economy
  • Companies have the comfort of working with a familiar team minus the expense of hiring full-time employees, while temporary workers get the certainty of steady work without sacrificing the chance to accept other projects
  • MBO Partners forecasts that half of the workforce in the United States will consist of freelancers by 2020
  • In one generation, there will be no employees. Everyone is going to be a subcontractor. - John Ruffolo, CEO, OMERS Ventures

Source: Canadian Business, March 2015

Small Businesses in Canada Export Through Websites

Pierre Cleroux, Vice President, Research and Chief Economist of the Business Development Bank of Canada spoke to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce about What to Expect in 2015: An Economic Outlook for Small and Medium Businesses.

"So if you are an owner of a small business, you might think exporting is a good idea but mostly for large and mid-size firms. I want to give you a different perspective about this because more and more small businesses are able to export with new technology. Digital technology is changing the game for small business. You can access billions of consumers online with very low costs... something not possible 10 years ago."

Mr. Cleroux continues to explain the how websites enable small businesses to export their products to the world. His three examples were outfits in:

  • Calgary selling pipeline sealers,
  • Nova Scotia selling dog food, and
  • British Columbia selling spa uniforms.

HIs presentation starts at 21:30 of the Calgary Chamber video.

Source: Calgary Chamber of Commerce
Photo: © Angelo Narciso, Delta Hotel, Calgary, AB

Five Web Marketing Tools for Small Businesses

Five Internet marketing musts according to Ilya Pozin, Founder of Pluto.TV

  1. A well-designed website. 
    Design matters, especially when it comes to your website. 
  2. Smart(er) SEO (Search Engine Optimization). 
    Getting your brand to the top of search engine results is something every business wants.
  3. Noteworthy email marketing efforts.
    If you’re looking to reach your customers and stick to a tight budget, email marketing might do the trick.
  4. Leave your mark socially.
    If your business isn’t on any social networking websites, then, well, you're living under a rock.
  5. Embrace multimedia.
    Now more than ever is the time for meaningful imagery in your business's marketing tactics.

Source: Inc.com

Canadians Increasingly Becoming Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners

  • Following the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression, an increasing number of Canadians have taken control of their earning potential and become their own bosses. But unlike past recoveries, more Canadians are choosing self-employment, rather than as a means of escaping unemployment.
  • Western Canada is home to the country’s hottest startup activity. British Columbia leads the country with 3.7% of its working population owning a startup, defined as a business under two years of age. Alberta and Saskatchewan follow in second and third positions, respectively.
  • Canadians over the age of 50 are the fastest growing segment of the startup population, owning nearly 30% of new businesses.
  • Canadians in their twenties have increased their startup ownership by nearly 10%.
  • StatsCan reports that nearly 20% of immigrants were self-employed by the end of the 2000s, compared with 15% for their Canadian-born counterparts.
  • StatsCan reports that self-employment among women grew by 23 per cent between 2001 and 2011, compared with only 14 per cent for men.

Source: Matt Lundy, Canadian Business
Photo: © Angelo Narciso, Wieners, Waterton, AB

Seven Stats About Small Business in Canada

1. What is the definition of a small business in Canada?

  • 1 to 4 employees: Micro-enterprise
  • 5 to 100: Small business
  • 101 to 499: Medium-sized business
  • 500-plus: Large business

2. How many small businesses are there in Canada?

  • As of December 2010, 98% of all employer businesses in Canada were small businesses

3. How many Canadians work for small businesses?

  • 5,137,147 (48.3 per cent of Canada's total workforce).

4. How many Canadians are self-employed?

  • In 2010, 2.7 million Canadians were self-employed
  • 35 hours: Average work week for employees
  • 40 hours: Average work week for the self-employed

5. Success vs. failure

  • Net average (Businesses established less Businesses disappeared) of small businesses established from 2002 to 2007: 15,000

6. How active are small business owners online?

  • 36 per cent of small businesses had their own websites (compared to 91 per cent of large businesses)
  • 7 per cent sold goods/services online (compared to 22 per cent of large businesses)

7. What do small businesses contribute to Canada’s total exports?

  • 86% of Canadian exporters were small businesses in 2009
  • In 2009, 28 per cent of the country's total GDP came from businesses with fewer than 50 employees

Source: CBC News
Photo: © Angelo Narciso, Calgary Chamber, Calgary, AB

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StartCanada Business Development Corporation

Big dreams. Start here.

StartCanada is a Canadian company that designs, develops and manages elegant and effective websites for start-ups, professionals, non-profits and small businesses. StartCanada also provides social media marketing services for its clients.

Angelo Narciso leads StartCanada and is involved with business development, the design thinking process of web design / development, website management and social media marketing.