Communities in Boom: Canada’s Top Entrepreneurial Cities

Feb 03, 2014

If one looks far enough back into a city’s reason to be, it’s quite likely an entrepreneur was involved. People undertaking business ventures, taking advantage of the area’s land features, natural resource endowments or placement on travel routes were the first residents. So too, when small communities grow into larger towns and then into cities, it is entrepreneurial activity that makes it happen. The growth and development of cities, therefore, can never be taken for granted, for it is the individual decisions of entrepreneurs to start up, hire, invest and grow that translates into a city’s economic and social progression.

This is the reason CFIB looks into the entrepreneurship profile of Canada’s cities. As administrative structures, cities themselves cannot be entrepreneurial, but the concept can show through by the actions of their residents.

The annual report attempts to identify cities’ relative entrepreneurial strengths and weaknesses, looking at 14 indicators applied to 3 main categories (Presence, Perspective and Policy), to arrive at a score out of 100.

“Some measures of what makes a “boom-town” are obvious, such as a high concentration of entrepreneurs and a high business start-up rate,” added Mallett. “Other indicators are not as obvious, like the level of business optimism and supportive local government. Notice we have no hundreds on the board. These cities are leading the way, but even they can stand to improve in one area or another.”

2013 –Top 10 overall scores (/100), major cities (CMA population >150,000)
1. Greater Calgary 68
2. Saskatoon 67
3. Greater Toronto 65
4. Greater Edmonton 64
5. Sherbrooke 62
6. City of Edmonton 61
7. Regina 61
8. Kelowna 59
9. St. John’s 58
10. Saguenay 58

With headquarters in Edmonton, we are proud to recognize the city as a growing and developing community that placed 11th in 2011, 8th in 2012 and now is 6th and 4th for 2013, holding 2 placements of 10 – unlike any other city.

Report by Ted Mallett, Vice-President & Chief Economist and Simon Gaudreault, Economist