Alberta Cities Tumble Down Annual List of Top Entrepreneurial Communities

Alberta goes from having 6 of top 10 cities to having 1 in top 25; decline directly related to record low optimism levels among province’s entrepreneurs 

CALGARY – According to the 2016 Entrepreneurial Communities report from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), Alberta cities no longer dominate the annual rankings of Canada’s best places to start and grow a business, with only one area (the municipalities surrounding Calgary in 23rd spot) making the top 25 overall national rankings. 

“The fact that only one Alberta municipal area made top 25 in this latest report clearly shows just how difficult the operating environment for entrepreneurs has become thanks to one of the worst recessions our province has ever experienced”, says Amber Ruddy, Alberta Director for CFIB. 

The annual study assesses which cities are best positioned to enable entrepreneurs and small business to start, grow, and prosper.  The report looks at the entrepreneurial environment in 121 of the most populous municipalities (roughly 20,000 people or more) across Canada according to information drawn from published and custom tabulated Statistics Canada sources, as well as survey research conducted with CFIB members.  

The 2016 study covers 14 indicators grouped into three areas: presence, perspective, and policy.  Presence covers the scale and growth of business ownership,perspective measures optimism and growth plans, and policy represents the actions local governments take with respect to business taxation and regulation. Scores in those three major categories are combined and weighted to provide an overall score and ranking.  

Again this year, the study separates Canada’s largest cities, including Calgary and Edmonton, from the surrounding municipal areas and ranks each.  The Calgary periphery includes Airdrie, Rocky View, Cochrane, and Chestermere.  The Edmonton periphery includes Strathcona County, St. Albert, Parkland, Spruce Grove, Leduc, and several smaller municipalities. 

Cities in Ontario, BC and Quebec lead the top 10 list in the overall 2016 rankings. 

The 2016 overall rankings:

1.     Collingwood, ON

2.     Riviere-du-Loup, QC

3.     Kelowna, BC

4.     Penticton, BC

5.     Toronto periphery, ON

6.     Barrie, ON

7.     Kentville, NS

8.     Saint-Georges, QC

9.     Chilliwack, BC

10.  Cobourg, ON 

The 2016 rankings (2015 in parentheses) for Alberta’s largest cities are: Calgary periphery 23rd (1st), Camrose 27th (11th), Grande Prairie 31st (4th), Okotoks 36th(6th), Lloydminster 37th (9th), Brooks 40th (7th), Edmonton Periphery 47th (8th), Wood Buffalo/Fort McMurray 50th (21st), Lethbridge 55th (18th), Medicine Hat 85th (19th), Red Deer 98th (23rd), City of Edmonton 107th (48th), and City of Calgary 112th (45th) 

“It is important to point out the change in the rankings for Alberta’s cities compared to last year is not due to any major policy changes by municipal governments, but can largely be attributed to the dismal outlook of our province’s entrepreneurs.  If we just focus on policy rankings, Alberta cities perform much better, with seven of the top ten from our province”, explained Ruddy.    

The 2016 policy rankings:

1.     Camrose, AB

2.     Lloydminster, AB

3.     Wood Buffalo (Fort Mc Murray), AB

4.     Edmonton periphery, AB

5.     Grande Prairie, AB

6.     Shawinigan, QC

7.     Brooks, AB

8.     Okotoks, AB

9.     Rimouski, QC

10.  Alma, QC

The policy rankings for Alberta’s other cities are: Calgary periphery 13th, Medicine Hat 28th, Red Deer 34th, Lethbridge 56th, City of Edmonton 61st, and City of Calgary 103rd, 

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region.