21 Groundbreaking Canadian Entrepreneur Statistics

Entrepreneurs play an essential part in the Canadian economy, using their skills and initiative to extract value, start businesses, and provide employees with jobs, entrepreneur statistics tell us.


Many people are more interested in the actual numbers and success rate when it comes to entrepreneurship and various businesses.

They also have questions such as:

“How to be a successful entrepreneur in Canada?”

Or “What are the most successful entrepreneurs in Canada?”

To help you answer these questions, we decided to look into the latest stats.

Here’s what we found.

Exciting Entrepreneurship in Canada Facts (Editor’s Choice)

  • There are around 3.5 million entrepreneurs in Canada.
  • COVID-19 forced many companies in Canada to close, with the total number going down to 689,907 in May 2020.
  • 58% of Canadian entrepreneurs have a university degree.
  • Young Canadian entrepreneurs who own a business that has been operational for less than a year can receive loans of up to $60,000.
  • 40% of small businesses in Canada plan to invest in technology in 2021.
  • Canadians aged 25 to 44 are the most likely group to start their own businesses.
  • Entrepreneurs have to work as many as 70 hours a week to be successful.
  • About 20% of startups fail in their first year, while 60% fail within the first three years.

Latest Entrepreneurial Trends in Canada

entrepreneur statistics

1. There are approximately 3.5 million Canadian entrepreneurs.

(Source: Startup Canada)

These people operate in a wide variety of industries and niches. According to Anastasia Valentine, Chief Executive Director, Startup Canada, an organization that promotes and supports the country’s entrepreneurial community:

Canadian entrepreneurs are globally influential with one of the most active and healthiest ecosystems in the world.

2. Small and mid-sized businesses employ more than 10.7 million Canadians.

(Source: BDC & ic.gc)

Small businesses employ around 8.4 million, and mid-sized companies employ 2.4 million Canadians.

Given these impressive numbers, it should come as no surprise that small and mid-sized businesses are vital to economic growth. Canada entrepreneur statistics show around 1.23 million businesses account for 90% of the country’s private sector. They contribute roughly $1 trillion to Canada’s GDP.

3. In 2017, there were 1,114,740 active enterprises in Canada, and up to 64.6% of those had four employees or fewer.

(Source: ic.gc)

Small enterprises with one to four employees were the exact reason for the continual enterprises’ births and deaths. The scientific, professional, and technical services had the most births and deaths.

At the other end of the spectrum, the information and culture industries enjoyed the highest revenue growth, entrepreneur statistics confirm.

4. Due to COVID-19, there was a significant shutting down of companies in Canada, with the total number of enterprises going down to 689,907 in May 2020.

(Source: FundSquire)

Out of 801,940 businesses active in January 2020, many were forced to close due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The number of companies closing went up significantly from 39,190 in January to 62,560 in May.

Closures peaked in April at 87,998. The detrimental effects the pandemic has had on companies in Canada are still evident in the economy today.

5. Canadians aged 25-44 are the most likely to start their own businesses.

(Source: BDC & ic.gc)

You might be wondering:

What is the average age of business owners?

According to the entrepreneur age statistics, younger Canadians are the most likely to enter the entrepreneur world. In 2018, they accounted for about one-third of all entrepreneurial activity. Many of the most successful younger entrepreneurs run highly profitable blogs that take their business to the next level.

6. 72.4% of Canadians agree that entrepreneurship is a desirable career choice.

(Source: BDC)

One in four Canadians is interested in starting their own business.

What’s more:

10% of Canadians are planning to open their business in the next two years, and around 14% want to but remain hesitant. The Great White North is an excellent choice for entrepreneurs and retailers, proven by the excellent state of entrepreneurship in Canada.

7. Entrepreneurs have to work 70 hours a week to become successful.

(Source: BDC)

Let’s face it:

Success doesn’t come easy. That’s why 60.9% of entrepreneurs in Canada agree that working long hours, stress, and financial insecurities are among the main disadvantages of being your own boss.

However, the benefits of entrepreneurship in Canada – flexibility, independence, and following your passion – outweigh the drawbacks.

Startups, Small Businesses, and Entrepreneur Stats

entrepreneur statistics

8. Up to 42% of startups in Canada fail because there’s no need for the services and products they offer.

(Source: FundSquire)

The other most common reasons why startup businesses fail in Canada are the following:

  • 29% lacked the means and resources at some point
  • 23% didn’t have the right team
  • 19% were outcompeted
  • 18% had pricing and cost issues
  • 17% offered an inferior product
  • 17% didn’t have the right business model

9. When it comes to the number of startups in Canada that fail, about one in five (20%) startups fail in the first year, and 60% fail within the first three years.

(Source: FundSquire)

Additionally, 60% fail within the first three years.

The thing is:

Startups all over the world have a high risk of failure. In fact, the average time that startups stay in business is about two years. After the third year, there’s a sudden drop in the percentage of remaining startups.

10. More than half of Canada’s small businesses are located in Ontario and Quebec, small business statistics for Canada confirm.

(Source: ic.gc)

This should come as no surprise, as Ontario and Quebec are the two most populous provinces.

Here’s the deal:

As of December 2019, according to the Canada solopreneurs statistics, Ontario had 440,306 and Quebec 249,685 small businesses.

In the western provinces, British Columbia led the way with 187,252, while in the Atlantic provinces, Nova Scotia was number one with 29,876.

11. Around 40% of small businesses in Canada intend to invest in technology in 2021, entrepreneurship statistics for 2021 reveal.

(Source: BDC)

In 2020, the digital sector kept rising, especially in remote work, telemedicine, e-learning, and ecommerce. In turn, this stimulated businesses to adapt and adopt these technologies quickly. That’s why many small businesses plan to invest in technology that will benefit the sector.

So, the technological industry will grow by a healthy 2.2% in 2021.

12. The Canada Cultural Spaces Fund (CCSF) provides up to 50% resource coverage per project, between $500K and $15 million, depending on the project.

(Source: Mentor Works)

This organization supports startups across Canada that are involved in improving the arts’ physical condition, heritage collaboration, presentation, creation, and exhibition spaces. 75% of the start-up business grants Canada that CCSF offers go to rural and underserved communities.

13. The Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) covers up to 75% of costs up to $1 million in grants.

(Source: Mentor Works)

CAP supports agricultural business expansion and growth. In addition to CAP, other organizations support the farmers.

Some of them are the Canadian Agricultural Strategic Priorities Program (CASPP), which offers up to 50% of costs up to $1 million in grants, and the Agricultural Clean Technology Program (ACT), which offers up to 50-75% of the expenses up to $5 million in grants per project.

14. The Black Entrepreneurship Program (BEP) offers up to $93 million in investments, entrepreneur statistics on Canada grants reveal.

(Source: Mentor Works)

In 2019, Canada created and launched BEP, the anti-racism program that empowers black entrepreneurs.

Within BEP, about $53 million were invested in setting up a new National Ecosystem Fund to access funding for mentorship, training, and financial services.


Black entrepreneurs can get up to $33.3 million in loans of $250,000 each.

Finally, about $6.5 million were invested in a new Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub to offer eligible candidates successful growth opportunities.

Young Entrepreneurs Statistics Canada

entrepreneur statistics

15. Since 2014, people under the age of 35 have increased entrepreneurship rates by 80%.

(Source: BDC)

The study by Canada’s bank of entrepreneurs reported a steady growth of entrepreneurship in Canada during the past few years. The trend is expected to continue since about one-quarter of Canadians are interested in opening a new business.

16. 42% of Millennials in Canada are interested in owning a business.

(Source: BDC)

Additionally, 17% intend to do so in the next two years. The entrepreneur statistics on Canada Millennials show the entrepreneur world is shifting to younger and younger generations. In terms of geography, interest in entrepreneurship is highest in the western provinces.

17. 58% of Canadian entrepreneurs have a university degree.

(Source: univcan)

98% of higher educational institutions in Canada offer at least one undergraduate course on entrepreneurship. Graduate entrepreneur statistics show that around 40% of students took an entrepreneur course or program, which helped them start their own business.

And that’s not all:

Canadian universities provide more than 60 startup programs, accelerations, and business incubators that support the country’s economic growth.

18. Young Canadian entrepreneurs are eligible for loans of up to $60,000.

(Source: The Balance MB)

Futurpreneur Canada is a non-profit organization that offers excellent financing options to young entrepreneurs aged 18 to 39. To get funding, you’ll need to be a landed immigrant or Canadian citizen who owns a business that has been fully operational for less than a year.

Check this out:

The organization provides money, support, and two-year mentorship through its entrepreneurs’ network for those who qualify. According to recent young entrepreneur loan statistics, around 11% of young entrepreneurs have student loans. However, that hasn’t discouraged them from starting a business.

Different Groups of Entrepreneurs in Canada

19. Roughly 28% of Canadian entrepreneurs are women.

(Source: BDC)

The interest in entrepreneurship in Canada is higher among men. Nevertheless, women are not far behind, and their numbers are increasing rapidly. Female entrepreneurs in Canada statistics show that in the 40 years from 1978 to 2018, the number of female entrepreneurs rose a whopping 3.1 times faster than the number of male ones.


This growth is partly due to increased access to higher education, which has helped empower women and made them financially independent. If this trend continues, we’ll see an equal number of male and female entrepreneurs within the next 13 to 22 years.

20. In 2018, immigrants started 40% of new businesses in Canada.

(Source: Karla Briones & BDC)

Immigrant entrepreneurs in Canada statistics from 2018 reveal the total number of newcomer-owned businesses stood at 251,600. This is a massive 22% increase from the 2006 figures. These businesses have created around 400,000 new jobs.

It gets better:

Recent entrepreneur statistics also tell us immigrants are twice more likely to dive into the business world than those born in Canada. Canada will welcome over 350,000 immigrants in 2021, which will fuel entrepreneurship in the country.

21. The overall debt of all businesses in Canada in 2018 was $898 billion.

(Source: OECD-library)

The Business Development Bank of Canada lent around $105 billion to small companies, making the total share of loans 11.7%. Also, the BDC supported approximately 56,000 clients across the country. And according to the business development statistics for Canada, the bank had $31 billion in financing.


When it comes to Canada’s latest entrepreneur statistics, we can safely say that the long-term, post-COVID outlook is pretty good.

The thing is:

Canadians are getting more and more interested in the benefits the government offers to young and new business owners. Besides, specialized programs are inspiring females, immigrants, and minorities to take the initiative of opening and running their own business.

Bottom line:

Entrepreneurship will continue to thrive in the Great White North as startups continue to evolve and create effective strategies to stay on the market.


What percentage of the population are entrepreneurs?

About 13% of the population in Canada is involved in some kind of entrepreneurial activity. This ranks Canada second after the US, ahead of other developed countries. The government provides an excellent environment and advantages, which attracts many Canadians to start their businesses.

How many entrepreneurs are in Canada?

There are around 3.5 million entrepreneurs in Canada. The average age of entrepreneurs in Canada is 45 to 64, but there is also a visible activity from Canadians under 45. Canadians who have a university degree are more likely to become entrepreneurs and start their own business.

What is the failure rate of all entrepreneurs?

Around 20% of businesses fail during their first year. Only half survive the next five years, and 30% survive the next ten years. Some of the common reasons for business failure are no market need, being overtaken by the competition, poor marketing, and insufficient resources. 

What percentage of entrepreneurs are successful?

According to entrepreneur statistics, 80% of businesses are still operational after one year. Some of the reasons for success are patience and persistence, passion and commitment, willingness to adjust, sufficient budget to cover future milestones, and a balance of technical and business knowledge.

What are the top 5 most successful Canadian entrepreneurs?

The most successful entrepreneurs in Canada are Mike Lazaridislibrary, the creator of Blackberry; John Molson (Molson Brewery); the brothers Harrison and Wallace McCain (McCain Foods Limited); Joseph-Armand Bombardier (Bombardier Limited); and Samuel Bronfman, founder of Distillers Company Limited.


Having spent 7+ years immersed in content marketing, Anastasija has written on any topic you can think of! The industries and companies she's been a part of have shifted her idea about novelty and new challenges - in Canada and overseas. She always strives to go out of her comfort zone and learn about new topics that grow on her. Tech and AI are among these things. Writing about these two topics, I’ve caught myself passionately learning about all the ways that technology can impact and help humanity. And with changes happening continually, you have to be actively involved to stay up to date.

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