The Big Impact of Small Business

A statistical look at small businesses and their influence on Alberta’s economy

Alberta’s small businesses form the bedrock of the provincial economy, accounting for 95 per cent of all businesses in the province and more than a third of private sector employment. Their influence extends to all aspects of the provincial economy — be it their contribution to the GDP, their record on employment or their increasing numbers — proving that even the smallest entities can have a big impact.

Small but numerous
“Small business” is generally defined as having from one to 49 employees. By that measure, 95 per cent of Albertan businesses are “small”

A Decade’s Difference
Alberta has experienced the second-fastest growth rate in the number of small businesses between 2003 and 2013

Where in the province are they?

More than a third of Alberta’s small businesses call the Calgary region home, with just under another third based around Edmonton. The relatively low number of small ­businesses in the northeast ­corner of the province can be explained by the heavy presence of resource extraction companies, which tend to be larger, in and around Fort McMurray

And in which industries?
As an economic sector, agriculture has the highest percentage of small businesses. At the other end of the spectrum are the energy and ­manufacturing industries, which tend to be driven by larger companies. And when it comes to micro-businesses (one to four employees) real estate is leading the way

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