Centres & Institutes

Small Business Institute (SBI)


The Institute investigates issues related to small business.


While the main focus is Lethbridge and southern Alberta, investigations incorporate the wider national and international community of small business and fellow researchers. These stakeholders provide guidance and input regarding investigations.

Findings are disseminated through publications in academic and industry journals; and conferences and public presentations.

Processes involving the transfer of knowledge from research into teaching and practice have been established to incorporate appropriate material into the development and delivery of small business university programs.


Investigations focus on the types of privately held small business varying from start-up to multi-generation. The following aspects of small business are investigated:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Family business
  • Franchise
  • Non-participating family members
  • Not-for-profit
  • Small business employees
  • Succession
  • Sustainability


Smal business, big opportunity

According to the provincial government, small businesses make up about 96 per cent of all businesses in Alberta. While they may be small, they certainly are mighty. In fact, small businesses in the province contribute nearly 30 per cent of Alberta's gross domestic product (GDP) – a figure that puts them first in the country for small business GDP per capita in 2009. But it's not just small enterprises in Alberta that are economic powerlifters. Across Canada, small businesses are doing their bit by employing half of the total workforce.