Canadian SME Growth Numbers

The annual Canadian Small business statistics for 2012 were recently published by Industry Canada. In 2012 Small business (1-99 staff) made up 98.2% of all firms, medium firms (100-499 staff) made up 1.6% of all firms with the remainder large firms (>500 staff). Looking at high growth SME statistics, innovation, and export activity which reflect small business growth performance some of the main results are summarized.

High Growth SMEs

The highest concentrations of high growth SMEs (Annualized growth rate > 20%, over a three year period, with 10 or more employees) between 2006-2009 were:

  • Construction (4.9% of all firms).
  • Business, building, and other support services (4.6% of all firms).
  • Professional, scientific and technical services (4.5% of all firms).
  • 7.4% of service producing SMEs expect to grow more than 20% and 13.7% grow 11-20% between 2012-2014.
  • 9.0% of manufacturing SMEs expect to grow more than 20% and 19% grow 11-20% between 2012-2014.
  • Observation was made that high growth firms are not restricted to high technology firms.

Innovation

In terms of innovation:

  • In 2009 small businesses performed 31% of R&D ($4.8B), 18% medium firms performed R&D ($2.8B), and 51% of large firms performed R&D ($7.7B).
  • Between 2009-2011 SMEs that innovated between 2009-2001 were found in manufacturing (58.1%), knowledge-based industries (50%), and professional, scientific, and technical services (43.5%).
  • 38% of small businesses and 56% of medium business made at least one innovation between 2009 and 2011.

Exports

In terms of export activity in 2011:

  • 90% of exporters were small businesses (compared with 85% in 2008) but only 10.2% small firms exported.
  • 34.4% medium firms exported.
  • Total exports were $374B (increasing $48B over 2010) with 23.9% by small firms, 16.2% medium firms, and 59.9% large firms.
  • Exports account for 30% of GDP down from 34% prior to 2008 and has not reached pre-recession levels yet.
  • SME export destinations were US (89.3%), Europe (32.1%), Latin America (11.9%), China (11.6%), Other Asia (11.6%), and Others (15.4%).

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