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Small business is big business in Saskatchewan

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Ministry of the Economy October.19.2017

Small businesses – businesses with fewer than 50 employees – account for over 98.8% of the more than 150,000 business enterprises in the province. They are active in virtually every sector of the economy, providing vital inputs that keep the wheels of industry turning. Small businesses are a source of innovative products and services that contribute to the quality of life we all enjoy.

In 2016, small businesses employed 31.1% of Saskatchewan’s workers, and paid out over $6.2 billion (B) in wages and salaries, which was 25.7% of the province’s total payroll. 31% of Saskatchewan’s gross domestic product (GDP) was attributed to small business. Saskatchewan ranks third among the provinces for the share of its total economic output generated by small businesses.

Small business in Saskatchewan is growing.

The province consistently ranks near the top of the nation for its business environment, as reported by independent organizations like the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and the Fraser Institute. Although a downturn in the resource sector resulted in a slight decline in small businesses and small business employment in 2016, Saskatchewan’s business-friendly policies and strong economy in recent years have generally been reflected in a growing small business sector. For example, in the last five years, small business employment in the construction sector has increased by 14.1%, and employment for professional, scientific and technical services has increased by 8.1%.

Employees are sharing the gains of a prospering small business sector. Over the last 10 years, wages paid by Saskatchewan small businesses grew by an average of 3.1%, which is the second fastest compared to other provinces. Nominal wages in 2016 were 36.1% higher than they were in 2006. This paper briefly attempts to profile a dynamic, diverse sector of the provincial economy. It is intended to shed light on the performance of Saskatchewan small businesses and to highlight issues that policy makers and business leaders should consider to ensure the ongoing competitiveness of this vibrant economic sector.

Key Facts

  • Approximately 99% of the businesses in Saskatchewan are small businesses. In 2016, there were over 148,500 small businesses operating in the province.
  • Small businesses contributed 31% of Saskatchewan’s GDP in 2016, which ranked third in Canada.
  • Over one-quarter of Saskatchewan’s payroll earnings are from small businesses. Earnings of small business employees in Saskatchewan are the third highest in Canada, and have the second highest growth rate among the provinces.

View the full report here.

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