Foreign entrepreneurs find Canada’s business environment increasingly attractive for starting new businesses and investing in existing ones. The nation’s stability, abundant natural resources, and highly educated workforce are drawing more and more entrepreneurs to the area. This influx is partly due to Canada’s strategic location, which makes it an ideal hub for companies seeking to expand their operations into North America and beyond. On this page, you will learn everything about the best businesses to start and invest in Canada in 2023 and beyond! If you are a foreign entrepreneur that wants to start a business in Canada, schedule a 1-hour strategy meeting with our business immigration lawyers and learn how you and your family can gain permanent residency.
Why Should You Invest or Start a Business in Canada?
Canada offers a stable environment for foreign and domestic investors and entrepreneurs. The World Bank consistently ranks Canada among the easiest places to start a business, and it’s not hard to understand why. The country’s political stability is a significant advantage, providing a solid foundation for thriving businesses. The strategic location gives businesses easy access to the U.S. market, and trade agreements like the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) offer further benefits. A key feature of Canada’s business landscape is its diverse and multilingual workforce. This cultural diversity fosters innovation, creativity, and a global approach to business.
The Best Business to Invest and Start in Canada 2023
To determine the best businesses to invest in or start in Canada, you need to look at the sectors that are likely to generate the highest returns. It’s important to thoroughly analyze factors such as market trends, technological advancements, and consumer demand. Below are some of the businesses that you should consider starting or taking part in:
- Finance and Insurance
- Retail Trade
- Wholesale Trade
- Technology and Innovation
- Real Estate
- Green Energy
- Food and Agriculture
- Banking and Fintech
Construction remains a robust and profitable sector in Canada. With 9,737 incorporated businesses generating between $5 million and $20 million annually, and 180,293 businesses making between $30,000 and $5 million annually, the profit margins range from 2.6% to 25.8%. The construction industry presents many opportunities for new ventures, especially those with a well-structured business plan and sufficient capital.
- Cost to Start: $150,000+
- How Easy to Start: small construction works can be started fast and easily.
- Opportunities: more houses are needed across Canada, and renovation and remodelling opportunities are abundant.
Examples of Successful Construction Companies in Canada
A standout example of a successful construction startup is Bird Construction. Despite the highly competitive market, Bird Construction has grown impressively over the years, undertaking numerous high-profile construction projects across Canada. EllisDon is another successful construction company that has made waves in the industry. Founded in 1951 in London, Ontario, EllisDon has grown to become a world-leading construction and building services company, managing large-scale projects both nationally and internationally. These giants employ many sub-contractor firms to complete their projects.
Ideas to Start a Business in the Construction Sector
The construction sector offers multiple opportunities for entrepreneurship. With the rising demand for eco-friendly and sustainable buildings, starting a green construction company could be a viable option. This could include constructing energy-efficient buildings, installing solar panels, building mobile homes or promoting using recycled materials. Another idea could be starting a construction consulting firm. With your knowledge of the industry, you could advise other businesses on cost-efficient methods, optimal materials, and the latest construction technologies.
Finance and Insurance Businesses
The Finance and Insurance sector consistently presents strong growth. Over the past 5 years, total revenue of this sector has been around the $500 billion mark, peaking at $628 billion in 2019. Despite a slight drop in the number of businesses from 209,810 in 2015 to 199,260 in 2020, the sector’s impressive revenue figures suggest considerable profitability and investment attractiveness.
- Cost to Start: $500,000+
- How Easy to Start: heavily regulated sector, high entry barriers.
- Opportunities: there are opportunities to find a niche area for startups and cooperate with leaders in this sector.
Examples of Successful Finance and Insurance Companies in Canada
A prime example of a successful startup in this sector is Wealthsimple. This robo-advisor firm has made investing more accessible to the general public and has gained significant market share relatively quickly. Clearco has also marked its territory in the Canadian financial services sector. Providing revenue-based financing to online businesses, Clearbanc’s unique business model has allowed the company to scale and achieve substantial success rapidly.
Ideas to Start a Business in the Finance and Insurance Sector
There is a lot of potential for innovation in the finance and insurance sector. An idea could be to start a financial education platform. This platform could offer courses, webinars, and resources to help Canadians improve their financial knowledge. Another idea could be to start a niche insurance agency catering to specific needs such as pet insurance, drone insurance, or insurance for digital assets like cryptocurrencies.
Retail Trade Businesses
The retail sector in Canada is another investment-worthy industry. With 10,679 incorporated businesses earning between $5 million and $20 million annually and a massive 137,022 businesses earning between $30,000 and $5 million, retail provides investors with various scales and types of opportunities. The profit margin ranges from 0.5% to 22.8%, indicating solid prospects for a well-run retail enterprise.
- Cost to Start: $200,000+
- How Easy to Start: easy to set up a physical and/or online store with fast delivery to customers.
- Opportunities: As brick-and-mortar retail is shrinking, more emphasis should be placed on the virtual shopping experience and eco-friendly products.
Examples of Successful Retail Trade Companies in Canada
A stellar example of a retail startup is Frank And Oak, a Montreal-based sustainable clothing brand. Since its inception, the company has expanded across Canada and internationally. Another thriving retail startup is Mejuri. This direct-to-consumer fine jewelry brand, founded in Toronto, has effectively disrupted the market by offering quality, stylish pieces at a more accessible price point. With a strong online presence and growing physical retail locations, Mejuri continues to expand and engage its customer base.
Ideas to Start a Business in the Retail Trade Sector
In the retail sector, you could consider starting an e-commerce business. Online shopping has seen a massive surge in recent years. You could sell anything from locally sourced products, handmade crafts, or even niche products targeting specific hobbies or interests. Alternatively, you could open a specialty retail store, focusing on niche markets such as organic and locally sourced food, sustainable fashion, or vintage items.
The Manufacturing sector has shown considerable resilience and profitability. With 137,022 businesses making between $30,000 and $5 million annually and 45,171 businesses making between $5 million and $20 million, the profit margins vary widely from -1.0% to 22.8%. Despite some businesses operating at a loss, the high-profit margins at the top end of the scale suggest that manufacturing can be very profitable, especially for businesses that efficiently manage their operations.
- Cost to Start: $700,000+
- How Easy to Start: depends on the location; need to engage local economic development offices to help with finding a suitable site for manufacturing.
- Opportunities: as nearshoring attempts in the US are increasing with respect to many strategic products, Canadian manufacturers can seize the opportunity to become the manufacturer of choice for the American market.
Examples of Successful Manufacturing Companies in Canada
GHGSat operates satellites that monitor greenhouse gas emissions from industrial facilities worldwide. The data they provide enables industries, governments, and regulators to manage and reduce their emissions more effectively. Ballard Power Systems, Burnaby, British Columbia-based firm, is a global leader in proton exchange membrane fuel cell development and manufacturing. Their technology provides a clean-energy alternative for various applications, including public transportation and material handling, highlighting Canada’s capabilities in the clean-tech manufacturing industry.
Ideas to Start a Business in the Manufacturing Sector
In the manufacturing sector, an innovative business idea could be to start a micro-manufacturing unit. With the emergence of technologies like 3D printing, small-scale manufacturing of customized goods could become highly profitable. Another idea could be to start a sustainable packaging manufacturing company. With the rising awareness of the environmental impact of plastic packaging, alternatives like biodegradable or reusable packaging are in high demand.
Wholesale Trade Businesses
Finally, the Wholesale trade sector is an often-overlooked but lucrative business area. The industry includes 7,682 incorporated businesses with revenues ranging from $5 million to $20 million and 43,751 businesses earning between $30,000 and $5 million annually. The profit margins range from -0.1% to 19.7%, suggesting that the sector holds significant opportunities for profitability for the right investment.
- Cost to Start: $250,000+
- How Easy to Start: easy to set up a wholesale operation by establishing the right supplier network.
- Opportunities: reliable supply of goods has become a priority in many countries, including Canada. Attempts to provide sustainable, healthy and affordable goods can yield good returns in Canada.
Examples of Successful Wholesale Trade Companies in Canada
Megalomaniac is an Ontario-based winery and vineyard that has achieved significant success in the wine wholesale industry. By focusing on producing quality wines with distinctive character, Megalomaniac has positioned itself as a leading brand in Canada’s burgeoning wine industry. Spin Master has shown immense growth in the wholesale trade industry. Spin Master is a leading global children’s entertainment company creating innovative toys, games, products, and entertainment properties. Their successful growth strategy has allowed them to make their mark in the Canadian market and beyond.
Ideas to Start a Business in the Wholesale Trade Sector
In the wholesale trade sector, you could consider starting a dropshipping business. You could source and sell products from manufacturers or other wholesalers without the need to manage inventory. Another idea could be to start a B2B wholesale platform. This platform could connect manufacturers directly with retailers, reducing costs for both parties.
Technology and Innovation Businesses
The tech industry in Canada is thriving, and cities like Toronto and Vancouver have emerged as global tech hubs. This sector offers many opportunities, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, cybersecurity, software development, and much more.
Startups are innovating in areas like fintech, health tech, and green tech, among others. Investing in a tech startup or starting your own can yield high returns. The government offers substantial support for tech businesses, making this sector more attractive for investment.
- Cost to Start: $50,000+ for a consulting service company
- How Easy to Start: Easy
- Opportunities: Many
Examples of Successful Technology and Innovation Companies in Canada
Canada’s technology sector is extensive, covering many areas of expertise. Shopify and Hootsuite are two of the most well-known brands in e-commerce and social media management. Another innovative startup, ApplyBoard, is changing the game in ed-tech by streamlining the student application process. Meanwhile, Element AI and Coveo are leading the way in advanced machine learning and predictive analytics solutions.
Ideas to Start a Business in Technology and Innovation Sector
Regarding potential business ventures, one option to consider is establishing a cybersecurity company that provides robust defence mechanisms against cyber threats. Another possibility is to create software solutions tailored to meet the needs of certain industries. Also, starting an AI-based company specializing in machine learning or data analytics is a viable opportunity.
Real Estate Businesses
The real estate market in Canada has shown resilience despite fluctuations. Investing in property development, be it residential, commercial, or industrial, can result in promising returns.
Apart from traditional property investment, there are opportunities in proptech (property technology). Proptech companies use digital technology to refine and enhance the real estate industry, offering services such as virtual property tours, AI property management systems, and online real estate marketplaces.
- Cost to Start: $200,000+
- How Easy to Start: Medium
- Opportunities: Many
Examples of Successful Real Estate Companies in Canada
The real estate industry has witnessed a rise in prop-tech companies in recent years. These companies, including Unreserved and Properly, are revolutionizing the home buying and selling process by simplifying it. Additionally, in the commercial space, Breather is offering flexible workspace solutions.
Ideas to Start a Business in the Real Estate Sector
As an entrepreneur, you could consider a real estate investment trust (REIT), which allows you to invest in properties that generate income. Alternatively, you might want to venture into proptech by creating a platform that enhances the property buying, selling, or renting experience.
The digital economy has led to the growth of the e-commerce industry, which has become highly profitable globally. Canada also follows this trend, as more consumers opt for online shopping due to convenience.
Many people appreciate the convenience of online shopping. If you’re interested in starting an online business, such as retail, tech, or services, the initial investment is typically lower than a traditional brick-and-mortar business. This makes it an attractive option for new entrepreneurs. Additionally, businesses can consider exploring opportunities in logistics and delivery services.
- Cost to Start: $100,000+
- How Easy to Start: Easy
- Opportunities: Many
Examples of Successful E-Commerce Companies in Canada
Big names like Shopify and Amazon dominate Canada’s e-commerce sector. However, numerous niche online retailers like Article (furniture) and Well.ca (health and wellness products) have also found success.
Ideas to Start a Business in the E-Commerce Sector
For aspiring entrepreneurs, there’s ample room for growth. Consider starting an online store that caters to a specific niche, or develop a platform that enhances the online shopping experience, such as an AI-powered recommendation engine.
The healthcare industry in Canada has always been strong, and the current global health crisis has emphasized the importance of innovative healthcare solutions. With a growing elderly population and a rising demand for healthcare services, this industry offers great potential for returns.
Businesses can invest in telemedicine, the development of new medical technologies, private clinics, home healthcare services, and more. Biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies involved in vaccine development and gene therapy are also promising avenues.
- Cost to Start: $400,000+
- How Easy to Start: Difficult
- Opportunities: Limited
Examples of Successful Healthcare Companies in Canada
Companies like BlueRock Therapeutics are at the forefront of regenerative medicine, while Dialogue offers telemedicine services to Canadians. LifeLabs, a healthcare diagnostics company, provides medical laboratory tests and services.
Ideas to Start a Business in the Healthcare Sector
Entrepreneurs could consider setting up telemedicine platforms, private clinics, or home healthcare services. Another avenue could be to develop digital health solutions, such as apps that help users monitor their health or manage their medical appointments.
Green Energy Businesses
Canada’s green energy sector is gaining attention due to the global trend toward sustainable and clean energy sources. The country is a top producer of hydroelectric power and has favourable geography for generating wind and solar power.
Investment in this sector doesn’t just mean establishing energy plants. There are opportunities in research and development of new technologies, equipment manufacturing like solar panels and wind turbines, and offering consultancy services for businesses transitioning to green energy.
- Cost to Start: $200,000+
- How Easy to Start: Medium
- Opportunities: Not many
Examples of Successful Green Energy Companies in Canada
Companies like TransAlta Renewables and Innergex Renewable Energy are leading the way in the green energy sector. Startups such as CarbonCure are creating innovative solutions to reduce CO2 emissions in the construction industry.
Ideas to Start a Business in the Green Energy Sector
There are many opportunities to pursue in the renewable energy sector, such as establishing renewable energy plants or developing technology to improve energy efficiency. For example, you could start a business focused on installing and maintaining solar panels or wind turbines. Alternatively, you could offer consulting services to companies looking to make their operations more environmentally friendly.
Food and Agriculture Businesses
Canada has a long and prosperous history in agriculture, and the food and agriculture industry still presents many opportunities. As people become more conscious of the origins and methods of food production, there is a growing demand for organic and locally sourced products.
Investing in organic farming, starting a specialty food business, or developing sustainable food processing and packaging solutions are all promising avenues. Restaurants focusing on farm-to-table concepts and health-focused menus are also popular.
- Cost to Start: $250,000+
- How Easy to Start: Medium
- Opportunities: Many
Examples of Successful Food and Agriculture Companies in Canada
A rising star in the food and agriculture sector is Goodfood, a meal kit company. In the agriculture-tech field, companies like Farmer’s Edge and Terramera are using technology to enhance farming practices.
Ideas to Start a Business in the Food and Agriculture Sector
Have you thought about investing in organic farming? Alternatively, you could start a specialty food business that caters to specific dietary needs. Another possibility is to explore tech-driven solutions, such as developing farm management apps or creating sustainable food processing and packaging technologies. These options have great potential for growth and success.
Banking and Fintech Businesses
Canada boasts a stable financial system, positioning it as an ideal location for finance-related enterprises. However, traditional finance is not the only investment option available. Fintech, an abbreviation for financial technology, is transforming how individuals handle and utilize money, and this industry offers tremendous innovation potential.
Companies offering digital payment solutions, online lending platforms, robo-advisors for investments, and blockchain technologies are growing rapidly. As consumers and businesses increasingly embrace these solutions, the fintech sector is set to soar in 2023 and beyond.
- Cost to Start: $250,000+ for a small fintech company
- How Easy to Start: Difficult
- Opportunities: Not many
Examples of Successful Banking and Fintech Companies in Canada
Traditional banking institutions like RBC and TD Bank are prominent in the banking sector. However, fintech companies like Borrowell (personal loans) and Koho (digital banking) are shaking up the industry.
Ideas to Start a Business in the Banking and Fintech Sector
In the field of fintech, there are numerous opportunities to explore. You may consider creating a digital payment system, an online lending platform, or providing robo-advisory services for investment. The acceptance of blockchain and cryptocurrency within the financial industry also presents promising prospects.
How to Start a Business in Canada
There are several crucial steps when starting a business in Canada. If you are a foreign investor or an entrepreneur, you will likely need to go through the business immigration process, which could allow you to gain permanent residency in Canada. The following investment immigration programs are available to you:
- Entrepreneur Visa (C11): This program is perfect for people who want to start or buy a business in Canada and be actively involved in managing it.
- Intra-Company Transfer (ICT): This program is designed for individuals who are relocating to a Canadian office of their companies.
- Startup Visa Program (SUV): This program is ideal for entrepreneurs who want to kickstart or fund innovative businesses in Canada.
- LMIA Work Permit Program: Foreign entrepreneurs can work in Canada while effectively managing their own businesses under this program.
After you have narrowed down your business immigration program, based on our experience, anyone who is looking to start business operations will have to take the following steps:
- Step 1 – Develop a Business Idea: Create a strong business idea, understanding your target audience and market fit. Show relevant industry experience and management skills for immigration purposes.
- Step 2 – Seek Mentorship and Networking: Leverage insights from mentors and build your network to understand the Canadian market better.
- Step 3 – Create a Business Plan: Ensure your immigration business plan is specific, well-researched, and viable. It should be active, create jobs, and contribute to Canada’s economy for immigration considerations.
- Step 4 – Financial Investment: Know the financial requirement for your business and plan funding. For immigration, show financial capacity and ensure your business benefits Canada.
- Step 5 – Register and Incorporate Your Business: Incorporate your business correctly as it affects future growth. For immigration, incorporation in Canada is often necessary.
- Step 6 – Obtain Permits and Licenses: Secure the necessary permits and licenses specific to your industry to operate legally in Canada.
- Step 7 – Open a Bank Account and Apply for a Business Credit Card: Separate business and personal finances by opening a business bank account.
- Step 8 – Launch Your Business: Start your venture in Canada, showing commitment and execution for immigration application.
- Step 9 – Analyze and Reflect: Constantly improve your business by evaluating operations, successes, and failures.
Franchising in Canada
Investing in a franchise in Canada can be a lucrative business opportunity. With a franchise, you can operate a business under a well-known brand, which can lower the risk and uncertainty associated with starting a business from scratch. There are many franchise options in different sectors, such as fast food, fitness, and home services, among others. To choose the best franchise for you, it’s essential to consider factors like the initial investment, ongoing fees, level of support from the franchisor, and the brand’s track record.
Our Experience with Starting Businesses in Canada
Successful entrepreneurship requires more than just a good business idea. It requires careful planning, strategic decision-making, and a willingness to adapt and learn. We have helped numerous foreign entrepreneurs start businesses in Canada, make sure to check out our yearly results report.
“To achieve success, it’s crucial to take the following steps. Firstly, conduct comprehensive market research. Understanding your target audience and competition is vital. Secondly, create a robust business plan that clearly outlines your goals, strategies, and financial forecasts. Thirdly, networking can go a long way. Build relationships with entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and potential customers. Fourthly, in this digital era, effective online marketing is crucial. This includes social media, content marketing, SEO, and more. Lastly, it’s essential to remain adaptable. The business environment is constantly changing, and the ability to embrace new ideas and adjust your strategy when needed is what separates successful entrepreneurs from the rest.” – Feruza Djamalova
Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find answers to the most commonly asked questions about the best business to invest in and start in Canada:
Which business is good to invest in Canada?
For entrepreneurs looking to invest in Canada, putting your money in the technology and innovation sector is an intelligent decision. Canada has established itself as a dominant force in fields such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, software development, and cybersecurity, with thriving tech hubs in cities like Toronto and Vancouver. Given the ongoing digital transformation of various industries worldwide, starting a tech startup or creating your own tech product or service can yield substantial returns.
Which business is most profitable in Canada?
The most profitable businesses in Canada are in the technology, healthcare, and finance industries. Specifically, software development, AI, and cybersecurity companies have shown impressive profit margins in the technology sector. Telemedicine and biotech companies are standing out with remarkable profitability in healthcare. Fintech startups in the finance industry are proving highly lucrative as digital technologies continue to disrupt traditional financial services.
What business can I start with $100K in Canada?
With a budget of $100K, an aspiring entrepreneur has several viable options in Canada. You could consider starting an e-commerce business, which can have lower startup costs compared to brick-and-mortar businesses. Similarly, a consultancy firm in a field you’re an expert in, like digital marketing or green energy consulting, could be a cost-effective choice. Alternatively, consider investing in a franchise, as several franchises are available within this budget.
Which businesses are booming in Canada?
In 2023, booming businesses in Canada include those in the green energy sector, fintech, e-commerce, and healthcare innovation. The shift towards sustainable energy sources drives growth in the green energy sector, while advancements in digital technology are spurring growth in fintech and e-commerce. With an aging population and ongoing global health concerns, innovative solutions in the healthcare sector are in high demand.
What is the fastest business to make money in Canada?
E-commerce can be one of the fastest businesses to make money in Canada due to its lower startup costs and the increasing number of consumers turning to online shopping. Another fast-paying business is a consultancy, where your knowledge and skills can be turned into profit. However, the speed at which a business becomes profitable largely depends on factors like market demand, competition, and how effectively the business is run.
While these sectors show potential, thorough market research and planning are crucial to any business’s success. Before starting or investing in a business, potential investors should consider their interests, skills, and specific market conditions.
How Sobirovs Law Firm Can Help You
The Canadian market is ripe with opportunities for entrepreneurial ventures. By expanding your existing business to Canada or investing in an established domestic business, you could contribute to the country’s economic growth and gain permanent residency. Remember, thorough market research, a solid business plan, and a passion for your chosen industry are critical ingredients for business success. It’s time to make your entrepreneurial dreams come true in Canada! Schedule a consultation today!