Growth 500

Facts and stats you need to know about the 2018 Growth 500

From revenue to workplace culture, here's the 2018 Growth 500 by the numbers

Growth 500: Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies


1. Got what it takes to grow a business? Think big: The typical Growth 500 company increased sales by 798% from 2012 to 2017.

2. The average winner clocked $37.1 million in revenue last year. Four topped $1 billion.

3. Nearly 80% of Growth 500 companies are fully or partially self-funded. 6.2% are backed by venture capitalists. Only 3.6% are publicly traded. A little more than 25% of the companies on the list are family businesses.

4. As employers, the Growth 500 count more than 70,100 full-time equivalent positions on their payrolls. Moreover, more than half of those jobs—nearly 37,000—are net new positions. On average, each company created more than one new job a month.

5. 89% of Growth 500 companies offer health benefits. 14% subsidize parental leave and/or childcare. On average, firms that have family-friendly perks grew nearly twice as fast as those that don’t.

6. We asked winners to describe their workplace culture in a single word. The most common response? Family, followed by collaborative, innovative and (no surprise) entrepreneurial. Also on the list: stoked, sunny, cheeky, geeky and, um, perspicacious. 

7. 63% of Growth 500 companies sell to clients outside of Canada. In 2017, their exports totalled more than $7.5 billion. Global mindset = faster growth: the average exporter upped sales by 955% from 2012 to 2017 (vs. 533% for non-exporters).

8. 91% of Growth 500 exporters sell to the U.S. The U.K. and western Europe follow, at 41% and 33%, respectively. Australia and Mexico are foreign markets of choice for one-quarter of exporters.

9. Six in 10 Growth 500 companies classify their businesses as disruptors. Nearly 70% consider intellectual property to be very or crucially important to their success . 36% employ a chief innovation officer—someone solely devoted to commercializing new ideas.

10. What do you need to grow a business? School can help: 73% of Growth 500 CEOs have a college, university or graduate degree. Yet more leaders come from the school of life (e.g. hold no degree) than the M.B.A. track.

11. 83% of the CEOs on the list founded or co-founded their companies. Fully half of all Growth 500 leaders started an average of three businesses before their current one. 31% of winners are run as a partnership, with two or more leaders sharing the top job

12. The vast majority of Growth 500 CEOs are male; female-run companies comprise 18% of this year’s winners. 49% of the women on the list have a mentor, compared to 42% of men. 63% of female CEOs mentor other entrepreneurs, vs. 53% of men.

13. The average age of a Growth 500 CEO is just a little over 46. 28% are under the age of 40. 10 winning companies are run by leaders who are younger than the ranking itself: that is, they haven’t yet celebrated their 30th birthdays.

14. More than one in five Growth 500 CEOs was born outside of Canada. The average five-year growth of immigrant-led companies was 1,670%—more than twice the ranking norm. Most common countries of origin? India, followed by China and the U.K.

15. The typical Growth 500 CEO takes home $304,100 in total compensation each year, or about $104 per hour. He or she works just over 56 hours per week; a few claim to log 20-hour days on the regular. For all that, 82% are satisfied with their work-life balance.

And what about Startup 50?

16. 1,091%: That’s how much the average business on the Startup 50 ranking of Canada’s Top New Growth Companies increased sales in the past two years. Together, they sold $443 million in 2017 alone

17. Tech firms comprise nearly one-quarter of Startup 50 winners. Second place goes to marketing and media, claiming 16% of the list. Third? Retailers—principally, e-commerce outfits—at 14%

18. Together, Startup 50 companies employ 2,603 people. From 2015 to 2017, they created 1,484 net new full-time jobs. Nearly two-thirds of winners sell goods or services to buyers outside Canada