Communities in Boom: Canada’s Top Entrepreneurial Cities in 2012
Ted Mallett, Vice-President & Chief Economist
Queenie Wong, Senior Research Analyst
Simon Gaudreault, Economist
Entrepreneurs and communities are intrinsically linked. Entrepreneurs build cities and cities enable entrepreneurship. Cities get their starts humbly enough from people working with their natural surroundings—a harbour, crossroad or resource deposit. But for a few communities the spark would endure, creating urban clusters that would serve regional, national or even world markets with their goods and services. Independent businesses and start-ups are the vital sources of energy on which communities grow and flourish. This year, in CFIB’s fifth annual instalment of Communities in Boom, we identify the large and mid-sized cities in Canada that have the strongest signs of entrepreneurial activity.
There is no single best way to measure the entrepreneurship quotient of cities, so CFIB combines a range of approaches to arrive at a series of scores—with the understanding that it is still a highly simplified way of looking at communities. Numeric data in any form cannot fully identify their complex fabric or the nuanced processes undertaken daily by Canada’s 2.6 million self-employed.
It may seem obvious, but one of the surest signs of an entrepreneurial hot spot is the presence of a high concentration of entrepreneurs and a high business start-up rate. It is also important that business owners have high levels of optimism and success in their operations. Good public policy is also critical, so we look at the presence of supportive local government tax and regulatory policies.
For cities with populations of 25,000 or more, CFIB assembled 14 indicators. Drawing from published and custom tabulated Statistics Canada sources, the index also contains direct perspectives from CFIB’s membership, which numbers more than 109,000 business owners across Canada.
The 14 indicators are grouped into 3 main categories:
- Presence is a representation of the scale and growth of business ownership, as well as its industrial diversity.
- Perspective covers indicators associated with optimism and growth plans.
- Policy represents indicators associated with the actions local governments take with respect to business taxation and regulation.
For 2012, we added two more variables to the analysis and modified the measurement methodology slightly. So for reference, we also provide recast results for 2011 to allow for proper comparisons.