It’s great to be a small business owner in Grande Prairie

The only Alberta community to crack the top 10 for top places in Canada to start and grow a business in 2018

Mario ToneguzziA new report on Canada’s top entrepreneurial communities doesn’t bode well for Alberta.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business Entrepreneurial Communities report released on Wednesday says Grande Prairie is the only community to crack the top 10 for top places in Canada to start and grow a business in 2018. It was ranked sixth.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the Canadian economy, bringing jobs, new products and a sense of identity to their communities,” said CFIB vice-president and chief economist Ted Mallett, in a statement.

“We want to celebrate that and congratulate the cities that have landed on the top of our list this year by embracing entrepreneurial values and understanding the needs of small business owners.”

The 2018 top communities were:

  1. Whitehorse, Yukon Territory
  2. Winkler, Man.
  3. Victoriaville, Que.
  4. Rimouski, Que.
  5. Rivière-du-Loup, Que.
  6. Collingwood, Ont.
  7. Grande Prairie
  8. Saint-Georges, Que.
  9. Val-d’Or, Que.
  10. Squamish, B.C.

The report evaluated Canada’s 125 most populous communities against 13 key indicators that identified the current state of entrepreneurship in each community. The indicators included various demographic measures, earnings levels, optimism, growth plans and local tax policy.

The report said Canada’s largest urban communities tended to rank somewhat farther down the list because their small businesses may face more competition and higher costs.

Here are 2018’s top large cities (census metropolitan areas) and where they rank overall:

  1. Kelowna, B.C.
  2. Sherbrooke, Que.
  3. Trois-Rivières, Que.
  4. Montreal periphery.
  5. Gatineau, Que.
  6. Toronto periphery
  7. Saskatoon
  8. Regina
  9. Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo, Ont.
  10. Edmonton periphery

“What the top communities have in common is strong policy that supports small business owners and fosters entrepreneurship, namely close ratios between residential and commercial property taxes,” said Mallett.

“Businesses don’t use municipal services as heavily as residents, so ideally, we would see a more equal distribution of the property tax burden between them. Instituting more business-friendly commercial property tax rates is something that every community can do to make it easier on its citizens to start and run a small business.”

Mario Toneguzzi is a Troy Media business reporter based in Calgary.

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