You might notice something a bit different. Since 1989, we’ve been celebrating Canada’s fastest-growing companies. Along the way, some of Canada’s best-known brands—including current honourees Canada Goose, Spin Master and Sunwing Vacations—have appeared on our list. But as we entered our 30th year, it felt like it was time for a change.
So what was the PROFIT 500 is now the Growth 500. It was an easy decision to update the name. The title was always slightly misleading, given that the program ranked businesses solely on five-year revenue growth. Further, the old name was outdated; PROFIT magazine, the list’s original home, ceased print publication in 2013.
This isn’t the first time we’ve adapted. Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies started in 1989 as a list of 50 businesses, published in Small Business magazine. This was intended to raise the profile of bold, big-thinking entrepreneurs. A few years later, the ranking doubled in size and took the name of the recently rebranded magazine, becoming the PROFIT 100. In 2011, we expanded to rank 200 companies; two years later, we did it again and ranked 500. In 2016, we brought in the Startup 50 as a companion ranking for younger firms.
Our program has grown alongside the scope, ambition and profile of Canadian entrepreneurship. In 1989, a movement toward bolder, riskier ventures—dubbed “Canada’s Entrepreneurial Revolution” by the editors of Small Business—was gaining critical momentum. Since then, fuelled by the advent of free trade and technological advances, Canada has became a place that builds innovative, ambitious, world-class ventures. Today, entrepreneurship is one of the hottest careers going; according to a recent study, most millennials plan to start their own businesses.
The successes of our alumni help to illustrate this transformation. Before he appeared on Shark Tank and Dragons’ Den, Robert Herjavec was an upstart with two goals for his tech-security business: to survive, and to appear on the PROFIT 100 (he did both). Softkey Software Products, run by Herjavec’s co-star Kevin O’Leary, was the No. 1 business in 1992. Globalive Communications, headed by serial entrepreneur Tony Lacavera, held the same spot in 2004. Research in Motion first made the list in 1999 and stayed for a dozen straight years. (That’s a record now being threatened by Kids & Company—No. 380—which has made the list annually since being the top company in 2008.) Westjet, GardaWorld and G Adventures are past Growth 500 winners. The ways in which these winners—and hundreds of others you may not know—have benefited Canada’s economy are profound.
We’re proud to play a role in this ongoing evolution. As the stories in this package illustrate, growth is healthy. Growth is good. Growth is worth celebrating.