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Business Plan Help | 28 April, 2021

The Top 15 Cities in Canada to Start a Business

If you are planning to start your own business, choosing the right city is an essential decision. Here are the top cities in Canada that could be ideal for the location of your new company.



Start-ups are an essential element of the Canadian economy and help ensure that the country does achieve high levels of economic growth. New small companies regularly create fresh jobs, fostering innovative thinking and dynamic business models. Between 2002 and 2014, 96,000 new firms entered the market every year across Canada. In total 97.9% of companies operating in Canada are classed as small businesses.


If you are thinking about starting a business, you need to choose the right location. Selecting the perfect place for your business can be a deciding factor in whether your business is a success. It can impact variables such as demand, the potential for growth, and the accessible talent pool. Here are the top cities in Canada you could consider setting up shop.


15. Brampton

Brampton is a city where startups can easily find support for new ideas and innovative thinkers. It regularly hosts events like Startup Weekend that are designed to ensure companies can find support and hit the ground running. Various major businesses have home hubs including Ford, Amazon, and Parkinson Coach Line. Brampton is also one of the most diverse cities in the country, providing businesses the opportunity to target a range of different audiences.


14. Mississauga

There are numerous reasons why this could be the right location for your startup. The city of Mississauga currently owns more than $9.9 billion worth of infrastructure and the local government is focused on ensuring that it grows into a smart city. More than 800km of fiber connect is already in place across more than 290 different sites. The city also has a labor force of more than 4,300,000 providing a massive talent pool that business owners can take advantage of. 400,000 students are either waiting to be hired or are looking to start their own company here.


13. Surrey

Within the next 20 years, it’s possible that Surrey could become the largest city in British Columbia by population. Indeed, by 2041, it’s expected that one in five Vancouver residents will reside in Surrey. Part of the reason for this is the fact that Surrey is a US border city and lies within proximity to two international airports. Sixteen thousand businesses are already active in this area and there are numerous pro-business initiatives designed to help companies find their footing.


12. Victoria

Victoria is a picturesque place to start a business and it’s one of the reasons why numerous companies are already setting up shop here. The views from the harbor are Instagram-worthy and it’s a city that gardens a lot of attention from a younger demographic. As well as this, it is near both Vancouver as well as Seattle. Due to this, it could be the perfect destination for a global business that is set up to connect with people around the world. The city is also well known for providing a fantastic quality of life for its residents.


11. Edmonton

The history of Edmonton is largely based on the energy sector, but this is not the key to its future. Indeed, the city is growing rapidly and providing countless opportunities for new small business endeavors. There are lots of wonderful places to work in Edmonton that are scenic with fantastic transport links. Edmonton is already home to a variety of highly respected incubators such as Startup Edmonton and TEC Edmonton.


10. Winnipeg

This city boasts an affordable place to live and is home to multiple industries. It’s quickly becoming seen as a smart place to complete business, particularly if you are thinking about exploring the advanced manufacturing, agribusiness, or IT industries. The city also has the third-highest number of head offices for every 100,000 people in Canada. As such, it’s already home to a lot of popular companies. As such, you are going to need to make sure that you have a plan ready to go here.


9. Hamilton

There is a massive talent base in Hamilton with more than 1 million skilled workers less than 30 minutes from the city. The Hamilton Small Business Enterprise also provides a vital resource for budding entrepreneurs. It even provides companies with free consultations about how to get started and what steps they need to take. Hamilton is also a popular place to live, ensuring that companies will have no trouble finding the employees that they need.


8. Saskatoon

Part of the reason that Saskatoon is so appealing to new business owners is that it’s home to a large university. The University of Saskatchewan provides a massive resource for business owners who are looking for new talent. Furthermore, many of the leavers tend to start looking into running their own company. More than half the population here is college-educated and there are other incentives too. For instance, the sales tax is the lowest in the country at 5%.


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7. Halifax

A recent report by Expert Market has suggested that Halifax is the 9th best city for tech startups in Canada. This is largely due to the level of funding available for businesses like this in the area. While it didn’t beat locations like Toronto, Halifax is showing impressive levels of growth and could be perfect for any business keen to join this industry.


6. Montreal

Montreal was rated one of the top 20 startup ecosystems in the world in a report completed by Startup Compass. It even plays host to key events such as Startupfest which annually attracts innovators and entrepreneurs from across the world. Montreal also has nonprofits that help small businesses such as Montreal NewTech and Notman House. The city was also at the top of the list for companies that had the largest VC activity.


5. Ottawa

Ottawa has a clear focus on cleantech with more than 240 companies operating in the area that employ more than 5,500 individuals. As well as this, the G7 capital is committed to innovation with different laboratories and agencies scattered across the city. There are also 1,750 knowledge-based businesses that employee 68,000 people. Due to a thriving economy with a 4.4% unemployment rate, Ottawa can be competitive for new businesses. That’s why it’s essential to make sure that you have a professional business plan for your company from day one which you can find more information on here.


4. Kelowna

In 2016, the financial post referred to Central Okanagan as the “Most Enterprising Region” in Canada and little has changed since. Currently, there are 28,000 businesses which are registered in this part of Canada. Kelowna also has fantastic transport links. For instance, Kelowna Airport serves 2 million customers on an annual basis. This is useful because part of your business plan should include how you are going to connect with other parts of Canada and the world. Kalyan also provides tax credits and exemptions to encourage business growth.


3. Calgary

As with various other cities on this list, the new focus for Calgary is technology. The commitment to support tech innovators has helped the city bounce back from recent economic challenges. Calgary is now thriving with a 68.8% employment rate and a 6% increase in employment over the past 12 months. Calgary is also the perfect place to begin a business if you are committed to green energy. With more than 330 days of sunshine through the year, you can easily put solar energy as a key focus of your business model. Professional business plan writers can help you get your company up and running here.


2. Vancouver

One of the biggest benefits of setting up shop in Vancouver is the proximity to Silicon Valley. The home of innovative tech is just a two-hour flight away. Vancouver is also considered to be one of the most livable cities in the world. Due to this, it’s easy for businesses to access and discover the talent that they need. Many thriving startups began their life in Vancouver including Slack as well as Hootsuite. Many of the more successful companies here are tech-based with a focus on visual effects and video design. Vancouver is also a beautiful place to live and if you’re thinking about starting a business here your next step should be speaking to a business plan writer to get things moving.


1. Toronto

Arguably the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) is the best location to start a business. It’s widely regarded as the hub for Canada’s industrial, tech, financial, and commercial industries. Indeed, in the tech industry alone there were 228,500 workers operating in Toronto last year, showcasing an impressive talent pool. The Toronto and Waterloo corridor is also often referred to as “The Silicon Valley of the North” due to the impressive levels of innovation that come from this area. Toronto is also home to various Fortune 500 corporations and homes the Canadian headquarters of Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Competition for funding in this city is fierce so make sure that you do utilize a Toronto business plan writer to put your best foot forward.


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