Trends and Influences on Financing Small and Medium Enterprises

To be consistent with Statistics Canada, SME’s are defined as having less than 500 employees and with annual revenues of less than $50 million. According to the estimated population in the survey completed by SME Financing Data Initiative, Survey on Financing of Small and Medium Enterprises, 2007, small businesses (those fewer than 100 employees) represented the vast majority (99.5%) of SMEs in Canada in 2007. Ontario represents approximately 37% of all SME’s in Canada or 592,000 SMEs in 2007.

Entrepreneurs In Canada

Canadian entrepreneurs have become increasingly diverse throughout the past two decades. Understanding these statistics and the new influencing factors on financing, we have compiled the best organizational tools and resources for researching government funding options to serve Start-up Financing, Industrial Sector and Service Sector.

Demographic trends are summarized as:

  • On average, 17 percent of all Canadian entrepreneurs indicate “obtain financing” as an obstacle to growth
  • In 2007, 13 percent of SMEs applied for new or additional financing from a lending institution for business reasons and 87 percent of applications were approved.
  • Nearly 85 percent of SMEs operated in the service sector, with the remainder being goods-producing businesses
  • Women are entering the business world in ever-greater numbers with 47 percent in 2007 (as reported by the Key Small Business Financing Statistics, Dec 2009)
  • 58 percent of owners of SMEs are over 50 years old (as reported by the Survey on Financing of Small and Medium Enterprises 2007)
  • 22 percent of Canadian entrepreneurs will be retiring between 2004 and 2010, followed by an additional 29 percent by 2020 (according to the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce study)
  • The portion of Canadians who are visible minorities was 16.2 percent in 2006 and according to Statistics Canada will be between 19-23 percent of the Canadian population by 2017.
  • Among innovative SMEs (i.e. R&D investments surpasses 20% of total investments), 58 percent were majority or partly owned by women and 14 percent by visible minorities.
  • Among exporting SMEs, 49 percent were partly or entirely owned by women.
  • 28 percent of all Canadian entrepreneurs have less than 10 years experience.

For the complete report on SME Financing Data, download the results – Government Report on Key Business Financing Statistics.


  1. what a small world. No longer with the Centre for Health – I am in the OSEB program – writing a business plan! Had to do research for ‘stats’ – and I happened along your page in my search! Thought I would pass on a ‘hi’ and let you know how well your OSE is working!!!!
    Hope all is well in your world.

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