Business Opportunities in Canada

Over the past year, Canada has witnessed an innovative transformation in the small business and startup communities. If you’re looking to start a business or startup in Canada, now is a great time to dive into one of the five sectors we’ve included here.

If you’re interested in providing technical services within these sectors, you’ll be more likely to succeed. Each of these categories also offers opportunities for those who are not ready to learn software development or data science as well.

What businesses are in demand in Canada?

The most in demand small businesses and startups in Canada fall into these five categories: software, real estate, e-commerce, healthcare, and finance. Each of these sectors is finding funding for their small businesses and startups by using technology to come up with innovative services.

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly had an effect on each of these industries and rapid technological iteration is what is helping them thrive. While you can dive into these sectors in less technical capacities, any of these sectors can be broken into in a more profitable way by learning to code or learning data science.

Ready to dive into coding or data analysis? Check out these free courses to get you started.

1. Software

Software industry in Canada It’s no surprise that the software industry is thriving. In a world where we rely on software for our everyday lives from shipping products to connecting with friends and family, this profitable industry will be in demand for the foreseeable future. Enterprise, artificial intelligence (AI), cloud-based services, e-commerce, point of sale, security, healthcare, and finance software are all featured among the 30 top-funded startups in Canada.

With over $339 million in funding, Coveo is the top-funded startup in Canada. They provide AI search recommendation engines so that organizations can deliver extremely personalized experiences. The recommendation engine trend was started by Netflix a few years ago and pushed forward by Hulu, Amazon, and Spotify.

If you're intested in identifying possible career paths in the tech indstry, take our quiz below.

2. Real Estate

Real Estate Industry in Canada One of the only industries that were actually boosted in Canada by the COVID-19 pandemic was real estate. The average real estate profit margin is expected to be about 21% in 2021 in Canada and demand is expected to remain stable.

People across the country are buying houses, finding people to manage their new investment rental properties, finding flexible office spaces, and more. As these businesses grow and expand, they’re looking for employees and expanding their offerings using technology.

Breather provides access to flexible workspaces by the hour, day, or month. With its app and space-as-a-service offer, Breather brings flexible workspace solutions to any company or independent worker, away from traditional leases and delays that may burden dynamic and fast-changing businesses. They’re valued at $122.5 million in 2021.

3. E-Commerce

E-commerce industry in Canada Another industry shaped by the pandemic is e-commerce. E-commerce sales brought in over $29.9 billion in 2020 and $15 billion of that came from purchases made on mobile devices. Revenue from e-commerce sales is expected to grow by 37% and surpass $33 billion by 2024. Over 28 million Canadians made purchases online in 2020, all statistics reported by Statista.

As with many parts of the world, Amazon is the top e-commerce retailer in Canada with over 181 million visits per month to their site. Canadian Tire rings in second with 44 million monthly site visits. Tapping into the booming e-commerce sector includes more than online shops. It also encompasses software that helps those shops run, shipping and receiving, distributors, supply chain logistics, physical and cybersecurity safety systems, and more.

However, Shopify, Canada’s most valuable company for much of 2020 before being superseded by RBC, is powering millions of e-commerce stores. In fact, the company reported that it had more than 1,700,000 businesses in approximately 175 countries using its platform as of 2021.

4. Healthcare

Healthcare industry in Canada Healthcare grows by leaps and bounds every year thanks to technology. From pharmaceutical companies to disease-detecting artificial intelligence, some of the top startups in Canada are in the healthcare sector. Telemedicine, senior home care, and technology that fills staffing shortages are the focus of health startups in 2021.

MedAvail, a self-service pharmacy app, kiosk, and drive-through solution, received $53.7 million in funding in 2021. Dialogue, a telemedicine platform, received $56 million in funding. To top the Canadian startup charts, AlayaCare provides software and hardware for home care agencies, bringing in $98.8 million.

5. Finance

Finance industry in Canada Financial services is almost always a profitable decision when it comes to getting into the startup world. Cryptocurrency is booming in 2021. Other services that are on the rise in this industry include automation services, cloud-based accounting, freelancer-focused services, and electronic payment processors.

Coinsquare is using blockchain to build the leading cryptocurrency trading platform in Canada with $53 million in funding. Mindbridge is using machine learning to conduct financial audits finding fraud, errors, and anomalies with over $42 million in funding. Bench and Sensibill are focusing on bookkeeping and banking for small businesses and freelancers both running to the tune of $50 million in funding.

What is the fastest growing business in Canada?

The fastest-growing business in Canada as of 2020 is Marlin Spring, a real estate company, according to Canadian Business. They’ve consistently grown since their founding in 2013 and rank number one.

Here are a few others that are topping the charts:

  1. Marlin Spring - Real Estate
  2. Fullscript - Healthcare, Software
  3. Flexiti - Financial Services
  4. Shipfusion - E-Commerce, Transportation & Logistics
  5. Viral Nation - Marketing & Media
  6. Article - Retail, E-commerce
  7. LPI Mechanical - Construction
  8. Honk - Information Technology
  9. - Human Resources
  10. Pela - Retail (traditional and/or e-commerce)

Each of these companies has 400 employees or less, making them small businesses. Marlin Spring, topping this chart, grew massively by nearly 60,000% in five years. Fullscript saw 32,000% growth and Flexiti pulled 20,281% growth over the past 5 years. Shipfusion and Article remained in the mid-teens with about 13,000% each. These growth figures are incredible for any business or startup.

Is Canada a good place to start a business?

Absolutely. In fact, Canada was ranked the third best place in the world to start a business by the World Bank. The best cities in Canada to start a small business are Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, or Ottawa. Toronto, especially, is known for its robust startup community with incubators, groups, and a large talent pool.

Learn how you can hire a grad from Lighthouse Labs at your Canadian startup today.

The following factors create an environment of opportunity to start a business in Canada:

  • Protection of investors
  • Tax rates
  • Access to credit
  • Registering property
  • Insolvency resolution

The government itself provides tools like business plan templates, registration information, market data, export support, R&D support, and more. Their website is relatively easy to navigate and provides more resources than many competing countries.

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