Getting Started

Are you an immigrant and an entrepreneur? There are many steps to take, rules and regulations to follow, and supports available to help you start your business.

Getting started

Reach out to people in the industry to get started.

As a newcomer you may be entering a sector that’s new to you. The RBC Starting a Business Guide offers advice on many issues, including on how to build a network of alliances from scratch. To do this, RBC recommends: “Contact people in similar businesses. Speak to potential clients and get feedback on your ideas. Join industry associations, LinkedIn groups, attend conferences and networking events. The important goal is to identify key people who can provide you with market intelligence, contacts and ongoing feedback.”

A similar approach is important even if you are not new to the industry. You may be starting out in the same industry where you worked as an employee. If so, the RBC Guide explains, “You will probably know several key players and customers whose opinions you respect. Get their advice. Try to meet with them. As you get to know them, ask whether you can call on them periodically to share information about your progress and get their input and guidance.”

Business planning

You can set up your business in a way that brings you the greatest advantages. For example, as RBC points out, you can or may:

  • Save money at tax time
  • Make it easier (and cheaper) to pay yourself
  • Avoid potential personal legal liability
  • Be allowed to bring revenue earned on foreign sales back to Canada
  • Make it possible to sell your business or pass it on to heirs

For entrepreneurs in Canada, another good resource is the non-profit organization named Connect Legal. It outlines the different business types or structures that are possible in Canada:

  • Sole proprietorship, where you are the business and any profits and losses arising out of the business are personal. As a sole proprietor, your personal wealth is exposed to business liability.
  • Corporation, where the business is legally separate from you and your personal wealth. Any profits or losses arising out of the business belong to the corporation.
  • Partnership, where the business profits and losses are shared between you and one or more owners. Partnerships can be individuals or corporations.
  • Cooperative (co-op), where the members who use the services jointly pool resources and share ownership of the business.

Connect Legal recommends that you research whether any licenses and permits will be needed to run your business. Governments and business partners often require these documents. You will also need to determine the legal business structures in your jurisdiction, and be aware that Canadian laws differ by city and province.

This is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal or other professional advice.

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