Can You Be Canada's Next Top Startup?
It's official: Canada's start-up market is among the world's hottest. The Wall Street Journal featured Toronto's Hubba as one of North America's leading new tech companies over numerous US-based competitors. Led by Ben Zifkin, who was named by Canadian Business magazine as "the next best thing" in 2016, Hubba will raise about $45 million in funding to expand beyond North America. The e-commerce business has already signed up more than 10,000 businesses as paying customers, including retail giants like WalMart.
And Hubba is just the start. Have you heard of Shopify? The Ottawa-based e-commerce business has raised over $100 million, topping The Globe and Mail's list of Canadian tech start-ups.
It isn't just tech or internet businesses, either. The Globe and Mail reported in 2015 that Canada was among one of the world's best places to start a small to medium-sized business. More than 98 percent of Canada's businesses have fewer than 100 employees, making them officially "small to medium enterprises" or SMEs. The Business Development Bank of Canada reports that these businesses contribute more than half of the nation's economy.
What are some of the other reasons why Canada is a great place to start and run a business?
Business-Friendly, Low Interest Rates
Interest rates for business loans are low. The prime rate for business loans is only 2.7 percent and the Bank of Canada's key interest rate is expected to stay at 0.5 percent, according to Canadian Business Magazine.
Pro-Business Regions, Provinces and Cities
Many provinces, regions and cities want businesses to succeed and support them with favorable tax rates and direct help, from tech-friendly areas like the GTA, Ottawa-Gatineau and the Greater Vancouver Area to business-friendly provinces like Alberta. Calgary and Saskatoon were just named the top Canadian cities to start a business by the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses.
Do you have to be in a big city? No. Smaller cities are also fueling opportunity for new businesses. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business identified entrepreneur start-up centres in Lloydminster, Red Deer and Grande Prairie in Alberta; Regina (in addition to Saskatoon) in Saskatchewan; Sherbrooke, Rivière-du-Loup, and Victoriaville in Quebec; and Leamington and Timmons in Ontario.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that Canada's GDP will grow by 1.7 percent in 2016, while the Bank of Canada predicts a 2 percent growth rate.
Stable Financial System
Canada experienced much less disruption during the 2008 financial crisis than did the United States (and many other nations), in large part due to its well-regulated and stable financial system.
If you start your own Canadian business now, you could grow over 1,000 percent in five years, like Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria in Richmond, B.C. What about a private vocational college like Calgary's Makami College? They grew almost 1,000 percent in five years, and have over 100 employees. These are just two of over 500 Canadian businesses featured in Canada's 2015 Profit 500. Start your business now and in five years' time, you too could be one of them.