Canadian Startup Ecosystem: Facts and Figures

Why choose Canada as the destination for your startup

That is a great question and the answer is easy. Canada is a heaven for start-ups. The Canadian startup ecosystem offers a range of incentives for innovators, entrepreneurs, and business owners. These incentives cover four main areas: monetary incentives, market access, programmes and initiatives, and national partners for businesses and companies.

Monetary Incentives


Any company that invests in research and development (R&D) in Canada can benefit from the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax incentive program—which is Canada’s largest R&D program. 

The Accelerated Investment Incentive provides an enhanced capital cost allowance (CCA) on equipment purchases and full expensing in the first year for M&P and clean energy equipment purchases. 

The Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) makes Canada a top investment destination for businesses through five Streams: 

  • R&D support,
  • Growth and expansion facilitation,
  • Large scale investment attraction and retention, 
  • Industrial R&D and technology demonstration advancement, and 
  • National innovation ecosystems support.

Market Access

Through 14 free trade agreements covering 60% of the world’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product), Canada opens doors to growth beyond borders.  These agreements give you access to 1.5 billion consumers across 51 countries. If you are planning to grow your start-up business beyond geographical borders, you will not find a better place to establish your company. Your business can benefit from preferential access to world markets, facilitated business travel to partner countries, and Lower risk for service providers and investors abroad.

Support programs and initiatives

In addition to incentives and market access, Canada has introduced programs and initiatives that facilitate companies’ growth even further. High impact technology companies can benefit from three main programs: GLOBAL SKILLS STRATEGY, PAN-CANADIAN AI STRATEGY, and INNOVATION SUPERCLUSTERS INITIATIVE.

World class talent pool

Canada is also one of the world’s top countries to find talent. Canadians are overwhelmingly educated. Canada has the most educated workforce in the world, with 59% of Canadians between the ages 25 to 64 being post-secondary institutions graduates.

Research and education is a national priority in Canada. Canada spent 6.0% of its GDP on education in 2014, and in 2017-2018, it invested more than $14 billion in higher education’s research and development (R&D) activities. These, among others,  significant investments have made Canada a leader in education among OECD countries.

The STEM initiative (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education) in Canada is a huge national phenomenon. More than ever, Canadians are recognizing the infinite possibilities in STEM. Many companies are heading to Canada for its high-quality workforce and there are clear reasons for this trend. STEM students make up more than 25% of all post-secondary enrolments and more than 70,000 new STEM students graduated only in 2017. No matter where you are in Canada, STEM graduates are readily available. By 2016, there were more than 1.3 million STEM graduates, with a university certificate or above. In 2017, the Toronto and Montreal regions made up more than 25% of the graduates, securing quality STEM talent from universities like the University of Toronto and McGill University.

Canada offers a world-class technical talent pool.

All these factors contribute to the fact why many companies choose Canada as where they establish their roots and why you should also be thinking of bringing your start-up business to our beloved country.

Read this if you want to find out more about facts and figures of Canada’s SUV program.