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Business innovation and growth support, 2020

Released: 2023-01-12

In 2020, small- and medium-sized enterprises accounted for 95.8% of all enterprises who obtained federal support from various innovation and growth support programs. These enterprises also received close to three-quarters of the total amount distributed from these programs.

In Canada, many federal departments and agencies offer financial and service-based innovation and growth support to businesses. In partnership with the Treasury Board Secretariat, Statistics Canada produces information about the impact of these programs on their recipients via the Business Innovation and Growth Support initiative (BIGS). A total of 123 federal programs related to business innovation and growth are included in this database, which is now available for the 2020 reference year.

Small businesses were particularly more likely to receive federal innovation and growth support in 2020, as they accounted for 87.9% of the enterprises receiving support and for 61.4% of the total amount given to businesses that year. In 2020, small businesses—which are defined as those with fewer than 100 employees—benefitted from increased government assistance to help with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In comparison, larger enterprises with 500 or more employees accounted for 4.2% of the BIGS 2020 support recipients. Nevertheless, large enterprises received 26.0% of the total amount given via these programs of support.

Over two-thirds (69.5%) of BIGS recipients were in the services sector, with more than one-quarter (27.4%) in the professional, scientific, and technical services.

Enterprises in goods-producing industries accounted for 30.5% of all BIGS recipients, and the sectors with the largest number of recipients included manufacturing (19.1%) and agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting (7.0%).

When expressed in terms of total amount received from BIGS programs, the largest beneficiaries were in the professional, scientific, and technical services sector (24.6%), followed by enterprises in the manufacturing (17.9%) and educational services (15.4%) sectors.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Business innovation and growth support by employment size, 2020
Business innovation and growth support by employment size, 2020

Chart 2  Chart 2: Business innovation and growth by revenue size, 2020
Business innovation and growth by revenue size, 2020

Chart 3  Chart 3: Business innovation and growth support by industry, 2020
Business innovation and growth support by industry, 2020

  Note to readers

The 2020 Business Innovation and Growth Support database now includes a new federal support program targeting small businesses, which contributed to increase the share of small businesses receiving support and the value received by these businesses.

Small enterprises are defined as those with fewer than 100 employees. Medium-sized enterprises have between 100 and 499 employees, while large enterprises have 500 or more employees.

In this release, the total value of support excludes enterprises with no available data on employment, revenue or industry classification. However, in the data tables, these enterprises are included in the total amount received from support programs.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (

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