BMO Report: Saskatchewan Communities are Small Business Hotbeds

    -   Saskatoon in Top 10 for Small Business intensity in Canada's large
    -   Lloydminster, Swift Current and Estevan make Top 10 for Small
        Business intensity in Canada's small cities

CALGARY, Oct. 14 /CNW/ - Four Saskatchewan cities are leading Canadian Small Business "Hotbeds" according to a study released today by BMO Financial Group. Saskatoon ranked in the Top 10 of Canada's large urban centres and Lloydminster, Swift Current and Estevan placed in the Top Ten list of Canada's small urban centre "Hotbeds."

The rankings, released today by BMO Financial Group, measure the intensity of small business activity in communities across Canada. The Top 10 Lists show that Saskatchewan communities are leaders among Canada's 33 large urban and 111 small urban communities. The rankings confirm that the province's small businesses are emerging from the recent recession.

These findings are part of a study, entitled Canada's Small Business Juggernaut, by BMO Financial Group's Chief Economist Dr. Sherry Cooper. The report, a post-recession perspective of this vital segment of Canada's economy offers an optimistic prognosis for Canadian entrepreneurs. Among its conclusions: not only will the great majority of Canada's small businesses survive the recession, but also as the recovery continues many will become stronger than ever.

"Today, business understands the importance of maintaining sufficient capital to ride the cyclical bumps," said Dr. Sherry Cooper, Chief Economist, BMO Capital Markets. "There is a new appreciation for the dangers of building up too much overhead or overinvesting in every new technological system. Companies that survived the recession will have learned to be flexible, to be low-cost/high-value businesses.

"Saskatchewan businesses will be resilient, especially in the long term," said Robert Hayes, Senior Vice President, Prairies Division, BMO Bank of Montreal. "Compared to a year ago, when small and medium sized enterprises were in a cautious and quiet mode and had pulled back from buying new equipment or expanding their operations, they are now starting to talk to their bankers and there is a new sense of optimism from an economic and financial point of view."

Although a moderate economic recovery is underway, Dr. Cooper cautioned small businesses against settling into a comfort zone. "'Business as usual' is a concept of the past, as economic forces are subject to intense volatility and change. Whether it's expanding into unknown markets, refocusing customer bases, or jettisoning non-core businesses, successful enterprises should not be afraid to forego the familiar and embrace the risks that can lead to higher rewards. But prudent analysis of the risks and opportunities is essential."

"BMO is working hard to be there for our business customers, to ensure they have the banking solutions and advice they need to take their companies into the future," said Mr. Hayes.

BMO Economics examined the latest data to assess small business strength in communities across Canada, by ranking the number of small business enterprises per one thousand of population to uncover the current intensity of small business in particular communities. This was done for large centres by looking at each of the 33 Canadian census metropolitan areas (CMAs), and for small centres by examining each of the 111 Canadian census agglomerations (CAs).

Looking at the five year view, the CMAs with the strongest growth in the number of small businesses were located in three regions: Ontario's Greater Golden Horseshoe region (Toronto, Guelph, Oshawa, and Barrie); British Columbia's Lower Mainland and southern Vancouver Island (Abbotsford, Vancouver and Victoria); and Alberta's Calgary-Edmonton corridor.

    TOP 10 CMA SMALL BUSINESS GROWTH, 2004-2009 (% change in number)

    1. Toronto, ON (15.1)                     6. Kelowna, BC (8.4)
    2. Guelph, ON (13.8)                      7. Calgary, AB (7.4)
    3. Abbotsford, BC (10.2)                  8. Barrie, ON (6.6)
    4. Vancouver, BC (9.3)                    9. Ottawa-Gatineau, ON/QC (6.3)
    5. Oshawa, ON (9.1)                       10. Victoria, BC (6.1)

    Canada's Small Business "Hotbeds" communities with the greatest intensity
of small business activity are dominated by British Columbia, Alberta and
Saskatchewan centres. Other centres include: St. John's, NL, Moncton, NB, and
Toronto, ON.

    TOP 10 CMA SMALL BUSINESS HOTBEDS (No. small businesses/1,000 pop)

    1. Kelowna, BC (39.7)                     6. St. John's, NL (32.9)
    2. Calgary, AB (38.9)                     7. Moncton, NB (32.4)
    3. Vancouver, BC (37.2)                   8. Abbotsford, BC (32.2)
    4. Edmonton, AB (36.6)                    9. Saskatoon, SK (31.9)
    5. Victoria, BC (35.0)                    10. Toronto, ON (30.0)

    TOP 10 CA SMALL BUSINESS HOTBEDS (No. small businesses/1,000 pop)

    1. Fort St. John, BC (71.2)               6. Grande Prairie, AB (53.8)
    2. Lloydminster, AB/SK (69.0)             7. Brooks, AB (51.0)
    3. Canmore, AB (57.9)                     8. Swift Current, SK (51.0)
    4. Camrose, AB (54.9)                     9. Salmon Arm, BC (50.4)
    5. Okotoks, AB (54.1)                     10. Estevan, SK (50.2)

    The complete report can be found at


For further information: For further information: Media Contacts: Laurie Grant, Vancouver,, (604) 665-7596; Peter Scott, Toronto,, (416) 867-3996, Internet:

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