Airdrie and area drops in CFIB rankings

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For the first time in five years, the area known as the Calgary periphery – which includes Airdrie and Rocky View County – has dropped out of first place in the rankings of the most entrepreneurial major cities in Canada compiled annually by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

“In the overall rankings, (the Calgary periphery) dropped from first to 23,” said Amber Ruddy, director of provincial affairs for CFIB in Alberta. “For top major cities it dropped from first to sixth.”

The report looks at three major categories: presence, perspective and policy.

Presence looks at the sheer numbers of business start-ups and growth in business ownership while perspective looks at how optimistic business owners are and what they have planned for growing their businesses in the future. Policy looks at the regulations, including taxation, imposed on small businesses by the municipality or county.

To compile the report, the CFIB reviews a number of different indicators, including Statistics Canada data and CFIB surveys. It is released each year during Small Business Week. The 2016 edition is the ninth year the organization, which provides information and resources for small business and entrepreneurs in Canada, has compiled the report.

According to Ruddy, Airdrie is not separated out and considered in the report as its own entity simply because Statistics Canada does not break down the area surrounding Calgary in that way. It’s something that might change as Airdrie continues to grow.

The Calgary periphery ranked higher than the City of Calgary in the report – the City came in ranked at 112 overall.

“For the Calgary periphery, we found that policy is still very strong. We’re trying to recognize that those communities are creating a positive business climate,” Ruddy said. “Where we’ve seen a big hit is on the perspective. It’s no surprise that entrepreneurs are less optimistic than they were last year. That’s felt Alberta-wide. We’ve seen some of the lowest lows ever recorded in CFIB’s history, just in March. Business owners are faced with a tough business climate.”

Ruddy said areas like the Calgary periphery have an advantage over big cities like Calgary.

“Places like Calgary tend to have higher property taxes, more regulation and they seem to be less in touch with the small business reality,” she said.

“For entrepreneurship, those hubs around the big cities seem to be the hot spots.

“I look forward to celebrating some of the success stories in the future. Of course, we can’t tell how confident business will be but hopefully we’ve seen the worst of it.”

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