B.C.'s small businesses thriving: Report

Small employers provide 56 per cent of all private sector jobs

British Columbia's small business sector is not only thriving, but increasingly running the province's economy, according to a new study.

The B.C. Small Business Profile 2008, produced in cooperation with the federal and provincial governments, found between 2002 and 2007 the number of small businesses in B.C. grew by 8.8 per cent or 30,150, and more than 56 per cent of B.C.'s private sector jobs are with small businesses - the highest rate in the country.

The report confirms that small business continues to play an integral role in the economy, said Kevin Krueger, B.C.'s Minister of Small Business and Revenue.

"The numbers in the profile clearly indicate that small businesses across the province are thriving," he said in a release.

The province's small business GDP accounted for 33 per cent of total GDP in British Columbia, the highest of all provinces, and 36 per cent of the self-employed were women, the second highest in Canada.

Other highlights from the study include:

•Construction saw an increase of more than 3,000 small businesses.

•Utilities saw an almost 51-per-cent increase in new startups, the most rapid annual average growth in the number of new small businesses.

•Construction jobs in small businesses increased 54 per cent over the five-year period.

•Mining, oil and gas extraction industry jobs rose by more than 72 per cent, or 1,805 new jobs.

•Annual wages for small business workers increased 21 per cent - more than twice the increase for large business workers.

•Small business shipped more than $12 billion worth of merchandise to international destinations in 2006 (more than 37 per cent of the total value of goods exported from the province) and

•Nearly all (96 per cent) of all high tech companies in B.C. are small businesses.

•Small businesses provided jobs for more than one million people in 2007.

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