According to the 8th annual report on Entrepreneurial Communities published by the CFIB, the cities of Western Canada appear to be the most dynamic in terms of entrepreneurship this year. As are the outskirts of large cities.
There are several pieces of information to keep in mind in the final report from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, published in October 2015. To begin with is the strong dynamism felt in the region of the Prairies about entrepreneurship. The cities and urban areas that collect the best indices are mainly located in Alberta, and more sporadically in Saskatchewan. British Columbia, to the West, has a few good results. Ontario remains well positioned, with its many big cities with more than 150,000 residents ideally located in the general standings. So we find in the ranks of the 10 largest cities: 1. Calgary periphery (AB), 2. Kelowna (CB), 3. Edmonton periphery (AB), 4. Saskatoon (SK), 5. Toronto periphery (ON), 6. Guelph (ON), 7. Barrie (ON), 8. Vancouver periphery (CB), 9. Regina (SK), 10. Moncton (NB). And the 10 leading medium-sized cities: 1.Penticton (CB), 2. Grande Prairie (AB), 3. Collingwood (ON), 4. Okotoks (AB), 5. Brooks (AB), 6. Lloydminster (AB), 7. Swift Current (SK), 8. Camrose (AB), 9. Salmon Arm (CB), 10. Leamington (ON).
Tempering the results
However, the report’s authors had to temper these results, given the current economic situation and the lower prices of raw materials. The repercussions on the entrepreneurial index is likely to be felt over the long term.“Although the numbers for Alberta and Saskatchewan remain above average, we have seen a reduction in the entrepreneurship index in the cities of these two provinces. On the other hand, there is a relative increase in the numbers for communities in British Columbia and certain regions of central Ontario.”
Development over five years
Data collected since 2011 also trace the entrepreneurial development in large Canadian cities. Some are doing quite well such as Saskatoon, whose index remains above 63/100, and Calgary whose index is still around 60/100. Others are struggling to have the right conditions for entrepreneurship, like Montreal, which each year gets an index below 50/100. The city also got its lowest rating in 2015 with an index of 36/100 (last place in the ranking out of 121 cities studies).
As in previous years, the report describes the profound energy experienced by the peripheries of the big cities. The three authors state it clearly, “the regions in the periphery of the big cities are generally the best incubators for new businesses due to relatively low costs and good access to major markets”. This explains why the peripheries studied almost always get better indices compared to the urban centres. The best example is the Calgary periphery, which obtained the highest ranking at 73/100. This is the fourth consecutive year that the economic region involving cities such as Airdrie, Rocky View, Cochrane and Chestermere have been leading.
Three major categories
Recall that the CFIB’s entrepreneurship index represents a mark out of 100 obtained from 14 indicators grouped in three categories: presence (increase in business establishments, proportion of self-employed workers, etc.), perspectives (business performance forecast, hiring expectations, quality of life, etc.) and policies (fiscal balance, municipal regulations, etc.).