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Small Business

The web is a growth engine for Canadian businesses

Canadians are constantly connected. Whether we’re streaming a new playlist, sharing a photo with family, or checking in with friends, the web plays an integral role in our daily lives. With a multicultural population and a culture that encourages Canadians to embrace their global connections, we also have the right conditions in place for our businesses to grow beyond our geographic borders.

For Canadian businesses, the web is a powerful tool to reach potential customers both at home and abroad. Thanks to the Internet and the emergence of new business platforms, even the smallest company can now adopt and afford technology that would have been the envy of a large corporation 15 years ago. More and more, the evidence shows that the Internet will contribute a growing share of Canada’s economic growth and that businesses that embrace online tools do better.

Take Manitobah Mukluks for example, an Aboriginal-owned company that’s been selling its traditional mukluks and moccasins in Canada for more than 15 years. In 2012, it began experimenting with online marketing through Google AdWords and launched an e-commerce site using Shopify to broaden its reach. Today, Manitobah Mukluks sells to over 45 countries through its online store and over one third of website visits come from abroad.

Indigenous person showing a beaded mukluk

Rosa at Manitobah Mukluks shows off her finished product

Currently in Canada, one in 10 small businesses are exporters, but many more businesses could use the web to reach a wider pool of customers and markets.

That’s why today we’re launching a Canadian Export Map to help raise awareness of the export opportunities available to our home-grown businesses. This map compiles data from the top 10 export countries for Canadian businesses to help them market their goods and services more effectively. The map includes the most important holidays and events in each country and insights into the web and mobile usage in each market. Our export site also shares stories of Canadian businesses, including Vancouver Film School, Manitobah Mukluks, and 1-800-GOT-JUNK, that have successfully expanded their customer base to global markets using the web.

Charts that show the shopping habits of consumers in Japan

A sample page from the new Google Canada Export Map, available at

“Toronto’s entrepreneurs are truly global - they are exporting to markets all over the world and that’s why we are helping to secure market access for their goods and services,” said Minister of State Maxime Bernier. “Our government is opening the European and South Korean markets and we will continue to give Canada’s small and medium-sized enterprises a priority on trade missions abroad.”

“Toronto has become a global leader in technology development, and as mayor, I am committed to growing the industry, which provides jobs of the future. Companies like Google Canada choose to locate themselves in Toronto because of our diverse and talented workforce, and today, we are seeing the expansion of an exciting new program that will help businesses market themselves internationally,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory. “As one of North America’s great cities, I want Toronto to lead from the front of the pack as a future-ready and globally integrated city.”

A recent study from Boston Consulting revealed that small businesses that embrace the web are almost 50 per cent more likely to sell their products and services outside their region. All kinds of businesses, from the largest e-commerce sites to the smallest local businesses, are using the web to power their sales to markets around the world. Today, every business can be a digital business that takes advantage of the 2.5 billion consumers online.

At Google Canada, we’re working to help small businesses to make the most of the digital single market opportunity. And we can’t wait to see how Canadian businesses make the web work for them, and where their export journey takes them.