Small businesses play vital role in Alberta economy

As of June, there were 173,314 small businesses operating in the province

Monday is the beginning of Small Business Week and ATB Financial’s Economics & Research Team is reminding people of the vital role small businesses play in Alberta. 

“Alberta is awash in small businesses. As of June, there were 173,314 small businesses operating in the province. This represents 13.5 per cent of the almost 1.3 million small businesses in the country,” said ATB in its daily economic update The Owl.

“Industry Canada defines small businesses as those with between one and 99 paid employees (other than the owner). Most businesses fall into this category. Only two per cent of businesses in Alberta have more than 99 employees. Businesses with 500 employees or more make up just 0.2 per cent of the total. The same is true for Canada as a whole.

“Smaller small businesses are the most numerous. About 60 per cent of businesses in the province have between one and four paid employees.”

ATB said the oil and gas sector stands out with 62 per cent of Canada’s small oil and gas extraction and support services businesses calling Alberta home. 

“More than 250,000 self-employed Albertans who have no paid employees are not included in these numbers. Some of these solo-preneurs will stay that way; others will grow their operations and take on employees. Similarly, some small businesses will stay the same size while others expand, creating jobs and helping the economy grow,” said ATB.

Alberta Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism Tanya Fir
Tanya Fir
Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism

In a statement released Monday, Alberta Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism Tanya Fir said:

“Every year, Canadians across the country celebrate the important role entrepreneurs and small businesses play in our communities. Alberta entrepreneurs and small businesses are the backbone of a strong, thriving economy. They are innovators, trailblazers and groundbreakers, and they are committed partners, job creators and pillars of our communities,” she said. 

“Small businesses in our province make up 98 per cent of all businesses, are responsible for 45 per cent of all private-sector employment, and inject billions into our economy. 

“Many of you may know a small business owner – whether it’s someone in your family, a neighbour, a friend, or an acquaintance in your hometown or neighbourhood. So, in celebration of this important week, I encourage all Albertans to take some time to recognize and support a local small business.”

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