Top Immigrant Startup Business Opportunities in Canada

Are you an entrepreneur who wants to bring your budding business - and your skills - to Canada? You may be in luck. Our Ottawa and Orleans immigration physicians list potential startup-business opportunities for immigrants hoping to become permanent residents. 

Economic immigration is a major factor in Canada's reputation - and our competitiveness and success on the world stage. As Canada becomes a world-class destination for tech, entertainment and other industries, immigrant entrepreneurs and business leaders will play a key role in the growth and success of our economy. Plus, they'll often create employment opportunities in Canada for fellow immigrants. 

The statistics back this up - according to Statistics Canada 2016 statistics (the most recent available), immigrants account for 33% of all business owners with paid staff, creating local jobs across many sectors such as professional services, retail trade, construction and healthcare.

While information abounds about how skilled foreign workers can come to Canada and take advantage of citizenship and immigration job opportunities, there are also a few opportunities in Canada for immigrants who have innovative entrepreneurship skills they'd like to bring to the country.

In this post, we'll discuss how immigrants can start businesses, immigrate to Canada and get permanent residency. 

Start-Up Visas

The Pilot Start Up Visa Program launched in 2013, replacing the Federal Immigrant/Investor Entrepreneur Program. Entrepreneurial immigrants who wanted to start new, innovative businesses in Canada could seek help under this pilot program. To qualify, they had to employ a mostly Canadian workforce. 

Those who qualified for the Start Up Visa Program had to bring the right skill sets and expertise to create jobs, help Canada improve and build a world-class economy. In 2018, the program's success led to it coming a permanent program. 

By taking part in the Start Up Visa Program, an immigrant entrepreneur can:

  • Become a permanent residents of Canada
  • Earn higher returns based on the business's success, and the percentage owned by the entrepreneur
  • Gain access to mentors, planning professionals and advisers through business incubators, venture capital funds and Canadian angel investor groups
  • Operate a business in a growing economy that offers:
    • Low tax rates
    • Low business costs
    • High quality of life

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) accepts more than 2,700 applications from entrepreneurial immigrants for this program annually. 

Top 5 Start Up Business Opportunities in Canada

Did you know most business in Canada are small to medium in size, and 98% have less than 100 employees? Here are 5 types of business opportunities you may want to look into if you are immigrating to Canada and hoping to take the entrepreneurial route:

Innovation & Tech

If you're an aspiring tech entrepreneur, you may want to consider choosing emerging tech cities in Nova Scotia, Alberta, or Ontario. The Toronto-Waterloo corridor boasts one of North America's largest technology clusters.

British Columbia is also a popular destination for those looking to launch tech businesses. 

Canada's tech industry is diverse, encompassing everything from web and software development to automation, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. 

Media & Marketing

Are you a creative entrepreneur with a passion for storytelling? Perhaps launching a media or marketing company is your calling. You'd be in good company, as the country's creative industry is fast becoming a burgeoning sector. 

In 2021, 4 large Canadian cities and a smaller city (Victoria) in British Columbia were named among some of North America's best places to live and work as a filmmaker. Toronto also hosts the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival, which draws international attention every year. 

Mobile Service-Based Businesses 

One consequence of our new digital economy is that you need not have a brick-and-mortar location to be a business owner.

Aside from food truck operators, other professionals that commonly operate mobile-based businesses include landscapers, dog groomers, hair stylists, cleaning personnel and others, whose services will always be in demand. 

Food Truck

Are you a foodie who loves to share your culinary masterpieces? Perhaps you have a few favourite recipes you'd like to bring to Canada. 

Canadians are big fans of food trucks - and we've been eating up gourmet street cuisine for years. As of 2021, an IBIS World report indicated more than 2,600 street vendors (including food truck operators) enjoyed a $211 million market size as of 2021. 

Your first priorities will likely be to look into licensing regulations in your area, as well as permit requirements, insurance, business registration and more. Then it's time to carve out your niche. 

Bonus: By choosing to operate a food truck instead of a brick-and-mortar restaurant, you'll be avoiding many of the high startup and operational costs restaurant owners take on. 

How to Immigrate to Canada and Launch a Start Up Business 

You'll first want to determine whether you're eligible for the Start-Up Visa Program. 

Am I eligible for the Start-up Visa Program?

If you have am innovative business venture that can compete on a global scale and will create jobs for Canadians, you may be eligible for the Start-Up Visa Program and be able to gain permanent residency in Canada. 

That said, you'll need to confirm you meet these basic requirements for the program:

  • Have a qualifying business, with the support of a designated organization 
  • Actively be involved in the management of your start-up 
  • Have a letter of support from a designated organization - an approved business group that's agreed to invest in or support your start-up
  • Meet language requirements - minimum CLB5 level; and 
  • Bring enough settlement funds - $12,960 + $3,492 for each family member

Find our how to submit your application and what to do after you apply on the Government of Canada's website. 

Do you want to learn more about how immigrant entrepreneurs can gain permanent residency in Canada? Our doctors at Immigration Physician Ottawa can help. We can provide guidance on the application process and provide health exams and certifications as needed. Contact us today to book an appointment


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