Celebrating its 32st anniversary in 2020, the Growth 500 ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companiespreviously known as the PROFIT 500ranks Canada’s top private and public companies based on five-year revenue growth. Results of the annual ranking, with stories profiling the growth leaders who make the list, will be published in a special report in the October issue of Maclean’s magazine (reaching millions of readers from coast to coast) and at CanadianBusiness.com.
What is the Startup 50?
Because the Growth 500 is based on five-year revenue growth, businesses must be at least five years old to be eligible. But we believe fast-growing younger firms deserve commendation, too. That’s why we also celebrate the growth of younger companies with the Startup 50 ranking of Canada’s Top New Growth Companies, a companion to the Growth 500 that ranks public and private firms on two-year revenue growth. The entry process for both rankings is the same.
Why should my company enter the Growth 500 or Startup 50?
The Growth 500 and Startup 50 are designed to celebrate winning companies, and past winners report they have benefited in many ways from their appearance on the list. In addition to national media coverage in Maclean’s and at CanadianBusiness.com, many winners get publicity from local and industry-specific media outlets. It is common for winners to see increased employee motivation, receive industry accolades and make contacts with potential new customers and collaborators. We will also honour the leaders of winning firms at a virtual CEO Summit. Finally, there’s also the sheer satisfaction that comes from knowing your business is among Canada’s best.
How are the Growth 500 and Startup 50 ranked?
The Growth 500 ranks firms by their percentage sales growth over the past five years. For the 2020 ranking, participating firms must reveal their gross revenues for 2014 and 2019 (or fiscal 2013 and 2018, where 2019 results are not available).
The Startup 50 ranks younger companies (founded after July 1, 2017 for the 2020 ranking) on two-year sales growth. Participating Startup 50 candidates must reveal their gross revenues for 2017 and 2019.
What financial information will be published about the companies?
To best serve participating companies, Canadian Business and the Growth 500 adhere to the following guidelines regarding the financial information we publish about winners:
Revenue figures for the most recent year (e.g., 2019) will be published only as a range (e.g., an actual revenue figure of $3.7 million will be published as “$2-5 million”)
We will not publish revenue figures for the base year used in our calculations (e.g., 2014 for Growth 500 candidates; 2017 for Startup 50 candidates), though we will require that information for verification purposes
We will not publish any information about the profitability of individual companies
Sample: The financial information accompanying a winning firm’s 2019 Growth 500 listing might be presented like this: “EntrantCompany Ltd. / 2019 revenue: $2-5 million / 5-year growth: 127%.”
How is revenue recognized for the ranking?
We define gross annual revenue per generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Sales that cannot be booked as revenue under GAAP do not count for the purposes of the Growth 500. (For instance, a travel agency can claim as revenue its commissions on airline tickets sold, but not the total dollar value of the tickets.) Gross revenue must be reported net of returns and discounts. Franchisors must report corporate revenue only.
How are candidates’ claims verified?
After submitting a ballot, all eligible candidates must complete an in-depth candidates' questionnaire before submitting complete financial statements for the fiscal periods used to calculate a five-year (for Growth 500 candidates) or two-year (for Startup 50 candidates) growth rate. Our policy of verifying financial statements is what give the Growth 500 and Startup 50 credibility, and is a mandatory step for prospective winners. Companies that fail to complete the candidates' questionnaire and/or provide financial statements will not be considered for the Growth 500 or the Startup 50.
Who can enter the rankings?
To qualify for the Growth 500 ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies, or the Startup 50 ranking of Canada’s Top New Growth Companies, a company must:
Be headquartered in Canada with significant operations in Canada
Be independent (i.e., not a division or subsidiary, unless the parent company is strictly a holding company)
Have majority Canadian ownership if owned by private individuals or companies. (Public or venture-backed companies with 50% or less Canadian ownership will be judged on a case-by-case basis)
Operate at arm’s length from related companies that have also declared their candidacy for the ranking (See “Can related companies apply separately?” below)
What are the revenue requirements for the Growth 500?
There is no maximum revenue limit for the Growth 500. Minimum revenue requirements apply as follows:
In the most recent fiscal year used in the five-year growth calculation (e.g., 2019): Growth 500 companies must have revenue of $2 million or more
In the base year used in the five-year growth calculation (e.g., 2014), qualifying companies must have been generating operating revenue
In the base year used in the five-year growth calculation (e.g., 2014), any companies with revenue of less than $200,000 will have their revenue for that period lifted to $200,000 for the purpose of calculating five-year growth that is not grossly exaggerated by immaterial differences in the base-year revenues of otherwise equal candidates (for instance, a company that grows from $1 to $2 million would have a higher growth rate than a company that grows from $2 to $3 million). Here’s a sample calculation that shows how this works: A company that reports 2019 revenue of $2.2 million and 2014 revenue of $100,000 would be assigned the minimum 2014 revenue of $200,000, resulting in a five-year growth rate of 1,000%: (2,200,000 – 200,000) / 200,000) * 100 = 1,000%.
What are the revenue and eligibility requirements for the Startup 50 ranking of Canada’s Top New Growth Companies?
The Startup 50 is meant to celebrate companies that have demonstrated strong growth, but are not yet five years old (and therefore do not have five years of sales data to measure). We will do that by ranking startups based on two-year revenue growth. Companies are eligible for the 2020 Startup 50 if they started operations between July 1, 2017 and July 1, 2019. There is no maximum revenue limit. Minimum revenue requirements apply as follows:
In the most recent fiscal year used in the two-year growth calculation (e.g., 2019): startups must have revenue of $1 million or more
In the base year used in the two-year growth calculation (e.g., 2017), qualifying companies must have been generating operating revenue
In the base year used in the two-year growth calculation (e.g., 2017), any companies with revenue of less than $200,000 will have their revenue for that period lifted to $200,000 for the purpose of calculating two-year growth that is not grossly exaggerated by immaterial differences in the base-year revenues of otherwise equal candidates (for instance, a company that grows from $1 to $2 million would have a higher growth rate than a company that grows from $2 to $3 million). Here’s a sample calculation that shows how this works: A company that reports 2019 revenue of $1.2 million and 2017 revenue of $50,000 would be assigned the minimum 2017 revenue of $200,000, resulting in a two-year growth rate of 500%: (1,200,000 – 200,000) / 200,000) * 100 = 500%.
Are non- and not-for-profit enterprises eligible for the Growth 500 or Startup 50?
Are franchisors or franchisees eligible for the Growth 500 or Startup 50?
Franchisors are eligible; Franchisees are not. However, franchisors are ranked by corporate revenue only; they should not report system-wide sales.
Can related companies apply separately?
In the case of related firms that do not operate at arm’s length from one another, only one of those companies is eligible. Also, divisions and subsidiaries are ineligible.
How to Enter
How do I enter my company in the Growth 500 or Startup 50?
Companies must declare their own candidacy in order to participate. Simply fill out a short ballot before the entry deadline of June 14, 2020. If it looks as though your firm is a contender for either the Growth 500 or the Startup 50, we’ll contact you with next steps starting in June of 2020.
Can my company be on both the Growth 500 and the Startup 50?
No. Your eligibility for either ranking will depend on your founding date, as provided on your entry ballot.
How much does it cost to enter the Growth 500 or Startup 50?
There is no entry fee for either program.
Should we report fiscal or calendar revenues?
Fiscal. For the 2020 ranking, you must report revenues from the most recent fiscal year completed through April 30, 2020 and for the fiscal year five years prior (two years prior for Startup 50 candidates). For instance, the Growth 500 will rank firms with a September 30 year-end on the basis of the fiscal years ending September 30, 2019 and September 30, 2014. In the case of a January 31 year-end, we require revenues as of January 31, 2019 and January 31, 2014.
What if my fiscal year end has changed in the past five years?
We encourage you to enter the rankings using the fiscal year-ends you have on record. Each case will be considered individually.
What if my company reports in U.S. dollars?
Submit your financial information in whatever currency you used for reporting.
What happens after I enter the Growth 500 or Startup 50?
If your company’s growth rate appears to place you on either list, we will contact you starting in June 2020 to fill out an in-depth candidates’ questionnaire and to verify financial information. Once those steps are complete, if your company remains eligible, we will send your chief executive an email to confirm the financial data we have on file is correct. If your company makes the ranking, you will be informed before July 30, 2020. Please note that we will not reveal any company’s exact position until the ranking is released.
When will the winners be announced?
The 2020 Growth 500 and Startup 50 lists will each be revealed on CanadianBusiness.com in September 2020, and in the October 2020 issue of Maclean’s, on newsstands starting in mid-September, 2020.
Terms & Conditions
Can my company be disqualified?
Canadian Business and Maclean’s reserve the right to remove any company from the Growth 500 and/or Startup 50 at any time if we determine the company to be ineligible, or that inclusion of that company would discredit Canadian Business, Maclean’s and their respective ranking programs. Canadian Business and Maclean’s also reserve the right to withdraw invitations to events related to the rankings.
Errors in the rankings
On rare occasions, the growth rates of participants in the Growth 500 program are misstated due to incomplete or inaccurate information provided by participants or errors in the interpretation of that information by our research team. In such instances and upon the request of the participant in question, we may publish a correction notice at our sole discretion to the rankings at CanadianBusiness.com.