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Entrepreneurs pave the way for the future of Canada's economy

May 24, 2017

New Shopify research reveals that almost 70% of Canadians want to be their own boss

Ottawa, Canada – May 24, 2017 –  To honour Canada’s 150thbirthday, Shopify is celebrating all the creators, innovators and game-changing entrepreneurs who have helped build this country. As one of Canada’s leading technology companies, Shopify wants to inspire, educate and connect the growing community of self-starters to innovate and shape Canada’s future economy for the next 150 years.

Over the course of the last century and a half, Canadians with diverse backgrounds have built a nation based on heart, hustle and resilience. Today, more and more Canadians are considering taking the path to entrepreneurship. According to Statistics Canada, 97.9 per cent of Canada’s economy is made up of small businesses. A recent Shopify survey revealed that this trend is expected to continue. The entrepreneurial spirit is booming and according to the survey more than two-thirds(68%) of Canadians would love to be their own boss. Currently, three in ten Canadians have already started their own business, and more than half (53%) believe that entrepreneurship is a possibility for them in the future but lack the resources to pursue it.

Shopify also found that some of the key perceived barriers to starting a business include: not enough money (62%), too scared of the risk (41%), unsure how to get the product to market (26%) or not enough time (20%).

The timing has never been better for Canadian Entrepreneurs

Earlier this year, the Canadian government outlined its broad commitment to innovation in an effort to drive productivity, job creation and economic growth.

The Shopify survey found that Canadians perceive entrepreneurs as key contributors to the country’s economy, citing the strongest impact in creating new jobs (73%), innovating through new products or services (67%), adding to the national income (45%), and creating social change (35%).

Entrepreneurs across Canada

While survey results concluded that Toronto is perceived as the most entrepreneurial city in Canada - the jury is still out on this one. The survey data revealed there are actually more self-employed individuals in B.C. (39%) and Alberta (38%) than in Ontario (33%).  The good news is, overall entrepreneurship is growing. In 2016, Shopify saw a 53% increase in Canadian store owners from the year before. This growth is happening all across Canada with a 52% increase on the West Coast, a 68% increase in the Prairies, a 51% increase in Central Canada, a 44% increase in Atlantic Canada, and a 52% increase in Northern Canada. 

“Shopify has helped over 30,000 Canadian entrepreneurs turn their dreams into reality, which in turn has created tens of thousands of jobs and brought millions of dollars back into local economies across Canada,” says Tobi Lütke Founder and CEO, Shopify. “Our merchants include everyone from Justin Bieber and the Canadian Football League (CFL), to a craftsman who moved to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia for a slower pace of life and now creates and sells beautiful woodcraft goods.”

Shop Class Canada

As a Canadian startup and entrepreneurial success story, Shopify wants to help others – not only by providing affordable software that enables merchants to sell their products and services anywhere, but also by providing resources that will empower the next generation of entrepreneurs. It is this desire that has sparked the launch of Shop Class in Canada.

Shop Class is a dynamic and inspiring hands-on workshop for future and existing entrepreneurs to provide resources and expert advice to take the leap and bring their ideas to life. Shop Class is a solution to address the barriers that Canadians feel are holding them back from starting a business.

Starting May 30th and running until mid-September, Shop Class will be making eight stops across Canada - starting in Toronto, and then visiting Montreal, Halifax, Whitehorse, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg and Ottawa. The multi-day workshop will feature industry experts to help with everything an entrepreneur needs to know to set up and grow their business.  Seminars will cover how to get started, marketing your business, taking better product photography, and more. Attendees can sign up for a half or full day of workshops, participate in free interactive panel discussions and networking opportunities, as well as set up 1-on-1 appointments with entrepreneurial experts to get personalized guidance and support.

To learn more about how Shopify is supporting entrepreneurship in Canada, or to sign up for Shop Class, visit

About Shopify

Shopify is the leading cloud-based, multi-channel commerce platform designed for small and medium-sized businesses. Merchants can use the software to design, set up, and manage their stores across multiple sales channels, including web, mobile, social media, marketplaces and physical retail locations. The platform also provides merchants with a powerful back-office and a single view of their business. The Shopify platform was engineered for reliability and scale, making enterprise-level technology available to businesses of all sizes. Shopify currently powers 400,000 businesses in approximately 175 countries and is trusted by brands such as Tesla, Nestle, GE, Red Bull, Kylie Cosmetics, and many more.

Survey methodology

A survey of 1735 Canadians was completed online between April 24 to 29, 2017 using Leger’s online panel, LegerWeb.  A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/-2.4%, 19 times out of 20Note: The sample includes a booster of n=200 self-employed Canadians.

Source: Shopify

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