Vancouver named most entrepreneurial city in Canada

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While Vancouver may have a reputation as a laid-back town where people bask in the lifestyle, Futurpreneur Canada has named it the most entrepreneurial city in the country.

The non-profit organization dedicated to entrepreneurial advocacy bestowed the honour on Vancouver for the first-time ever after the city hosted 89 registered events during Global Entrepreneurship Week, which ran November 17-23.

Ottawa previously held the distinction of most entrepreneurial city in Canada the last two years after putting on the most registered events that would connect entrepreneurs with potential investors and partners.

But Vancouver had the good fortune of Global Entrepreneur Week lining up with Startup Week, which drew similar events such as the Cascadia Summit and Vancouver Impact.

“We’ve been absolutely gearing up toward this the last few years,” said Jill Earthy, Futurpreneur Canada’s B.C. director.

“We were able to collaborate a lot more effectively and do a lot more.”

While Futurpreneur’s decision to recognize Vancouver was based on the number of registered events held in the city, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) — which specializes in securing capital and financing solutions for entrepreneurs — compiled data showing B.C. consistently outperforms much of the rest of Canada in terms of entrepreneurial activity.

A 2012 BDC study found the province was exceptionally entrepreneurial based on the percentage of population that’s both self-employed and hiring new employees.

The report showed in 2011 that 0.27% of B.C.’s population became self-employed with employees compared with the national average of 0.23%.

Even during the 2008 financial crisis, 0.37% of B.C.’s population became self-employed with employees compared with the national average of 0.24%.

And although B.C. had 12.9% of Canada’s population in 2011, its nationwide share of self-employed residents with employees amounted to 15.6% that same year.

Whereas 38.6% of the country’s population lived in Ontario in 2011, that province had 37% of the country’s residents who are self-employed with employees.

“There’s more of an influx of entrepreneurs coming to Vancouver from (other) countries,” said Danny Lidder, vice-president of financing and consulting at BDC’s Vancouver office.

“And there’s more of an entrepreneurial spirit as they come to Canada as new immigrants and they’re setting up shop.”

torton@biv.com

@reporton