Wintering the Business Economy in Canada
By: Tina Samuels
Have you ever stopped and thought about how the small business market is doing in Canada? Wonder what parts of the country might be most receptive to small businesses? Lastly, is your small business doing better or worse than your fellow Canadian business owners?
According to the Canadian Broadcasting Network there are more than a million small businesses in Canada.
This isn't counting independent contractors – but while the number seems significant, the statistics are staggering when you take in consideration the number of all businesses in Canada:
- 1,138,761 – number of businesses as of 2010 data.
- 1,116,423 – number of small businesses in that data.
This means that in Canada 98% of all businesses are small business.
There is some data for individuals which point to about 15% of all workers in the country being self-employed, though independent contractor data is not precise. Not all independent contractors report their business which can skew data. The actual amount of individual workers could be much higher.
Recent data has shown that well over five million of the people employed in Canada work for one type of small business or another. That's over half of the total workforce.
No matter what city you choose to open a small business in, Canadians utilize the products and services of small businesses more than any other industrialized nation.
Part of this can be directly connected to Canadians open approach to technology and business. The country is typically more receptive to new ideas and approaches than many other industrial nations around the world.
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Success In Canada
Small business are established in the thousands throughout Canada every year. Many are successful, so successful that over 80% of exports for Canada came from small business (2005-2007 data).
Out of all exporters in the country, 86% were small businesses. In 2009 the amount generated from small business export was $68 billion which was fully a quarter of all revenue in Canadian exports. The amount of revenue generated for GDP (gross domestic product) and exports from Canadian small business has been growing every year. It is safe to say that small business can be very successful in Canada.
The government offer help to small business owners and encourages the growth of such companies through numerous programs. Healthcare is also more affordable in Canada which may offer help in reaching successful launches and extended growth.
Where To Go
While most of Canada is receptive to small business, the coastal provinces provide the most opportunity for small businesses in the western part of the country.
In the East the most successful businesses are established in Ontario, most notably Toronto. Businesses established near the U.S./Canada border may see an increased amount of business due to customers from both countries.
To the west, artisan businesses do well in Vancouver. The area is well known for being eco-friendly, art friendly, and progressive. Any business that focuses on new or unique products or services will enjoy a higher rate of success in this area.
For anyone that is considering starting a new small business in Canada the following cities are always a good bet: Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. Nova Scotia has had an upswing in growth and could be considered as well.
About the Author: Tina Samuels writes on how to remove personal information, how to clean up your social media, and the basics of small business.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.