October 21, 2014, Canadian Federation of Independent Business: Historically, and for a variety of reasons, CFIB has found entrepreneurial characteristics to be strongest in Canada’s prairie cities and the urban areas that ring large urban cores. What they have in common is ‘newness’—the prairie economies have only been developed in the past 150 years or so. Only a few generations separate today’s urban prairie residents from their entrepreneurial forbearers. Similarly, suburban entrepreneurs sought the benefits of urban markets already in place, but found outlying areas more conducive to the structure and cost of doing business.
One often sees higher entrepreneurial activity in resource regions as well–although economies there can suffer from wider boom and bust business cycles. Favourable resource development conditions will attract businesses seeking to service increased activity—and, when conditions deteriorate, a strong base of experienced business owners often becomes the primary pillar of community support.
Among major centres, Canada’s overall top-ranked entrepreneurial communities in 2014 fit all these main characteristics. The combined communities of Airdrie, Rocky View, Cochrane and Chestermere that ring around Calgary’s periphery takes the top score of 70.8 out of a possible 100. This area also received the top score in 2012 and 2013. Periphery communities around Edmonton (which include Strathcona County, St. Albert, Parkland, Spruce Grove, Leduc and other smaller municipalities) climbs to second spot. Saskatoon slipped back a little, but still held its place above Saskatchewan’s other major city Regina. Kelowna is not far behind in fifth spot.
Among mid-sized urban areas, the prairie region is also still well represented, including Lloydminster, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie and Red Deer. Here, the obvious common element is the resource sector, which has offered many new entrepreneurial and development opportunities. Medicine Hat is another Alberta community in the top 10, as are Camrose and Brooks, which are new to the study this year. Another newcomer, Collingwood, is Ontario’s representative in the group, while Thetford Mines and Saint-Georges takes Quebec’s top spots.
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Ted Mallett, Vice-President & Chief Economist
Simon Gaudreault, Senior Economist
Andreea Bourgeois, Senior Analyst