December 11, 2015

Hire Immigrants Report: Immigrant Entrepreneurship in Canada


“The changing profile of immigrants to Canada may require changes to the support services now offered to facilitate business start-up and growth.”

This scan on immigrant entrepreneurship discusses the general climate of immigrant entrepreneurship within Canada, touching on successes and challenges faced in previous decades and today. The report provides an overview of immigrant entrepreneurship in Canada, identifies programs requiring increased attention for the improvement of immigrant experiences, and highlights key programs in Canada, Sweden, Germany, Finland, and the United States focused on facilitating immigrant entrepreneurship.

By examining the ways that government and government-funded actors are creating pathways to entrepreneurship for immigrants, the analysis aims to provide strategic intelligence on the interventions that may facilitate or inhibit immigrant entrepreneurship. The goal is to further policy work to enhance pathways to entrepreneurship for immigrants to Canada.

Key findings include:

  • Immigrants to Canada continue to encounter challenges and barriers to opening a business. Among the most common challenges faced by immigrant entrepreneurs are language, knowledge of the business culture and practices, and securing financing. These challenges are often related.
  • Not all immigrants with entrepreneurial goals end up exploring
    business pursuits in a desired industry.
  • Links back home can positively contribute to the successes of export/import businesses.
  • Among owners of exporting businesses, recent immigrants outperform all others including non-recent immigrants and non-immigrants.
  • The Canadian government has shifted its immigration policy objectives over the past decades. The changing profile of immigrants to Canada may require changes to the support services now offered to facilitate business start-up and growth.
  • Comparing services for immigrant entrepreneurs in various countries, one-stop hubs show promising signs of success. Connecting immigrant-oriented services with the greater community can assist in integration and also in the development of businesses.

Read the full report (PDF).

Find resources for immigrant entrepreneurs. 

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