How to Start a Business in Canada as a Foreign Entrepreneur?

How to Start a Business in Canada as a Foreign Entrepreneur?

If you are a foreign entrepreneur and want to establish your business in Canada and relocate, you may be eligible to come to Canada under Canada’s Entrepreneur Work Permit program. This program is designed for foreign entrepreneurs who own at least 50% of the shares in a Canadian business and, who can demonstrate the business will contribute to Canada’s economic development and result in job-creating for Canadians. After successfully establishing their businesses in Canada and having managed their companies for at least 1 year, foreign entrepreneurs may become eligible to apply for permanent residence under various immigration programs of Canada.

If you wish to apply for this program, here are the 5 key elements that you must demonstrate in your application:

1. Viable Business Plan

Your business proposal is the most important part of your work permit application, so make sure that your business concept is specific, well-researched, and viable in the Canadian market conditions. Include as many details as possible in your business plan. A good business plan should include the following sections among the others:

  • Description of business model
  • Value proposition
  • Competitive advantage
  • Risks and challenges
  • Long-term vision
  • Short-term execution strategy
  • Team & staffing plan
  • Key partners/suppliers
  • Monetization strategy
  • Market research
  • Marketing strategy
  • P&L analysis

However, keep in mind that your business should NOT be an owner-operator type of business that generates income for you or your partner only. Your business should not be the “passive investment” type of business (like buying a real estate property to rent), but rather should require your active involvement and day-to-day management.

It should have a solid long-term expansion and growth plan, aim to create jobs for Canadians and contribute significantly to the Canadian economy.

2. Relevant Experience

You must also demonstrate that you have relevant experience (either in the same industry or a similar industry) and managerial skills to establish and run your business in Canada. The Immigration Officer assessing your application has to be convinced that you are able to execute your business plan.  Therefore, make sure to include in your application the evidence related to your educational background and employment or business ownership experience to demonstrate that you possess all the necessary skills and knowledge to undertake such a venture in Canada.

3. Financial Capacity

Entrepreneurs starting businesses in Canada must have sufficient funds to execute a business plan. They must also demonstrate that Canada will benefit from their investment in the business. We are often asked how much entrepreneurs should invest in their business in Canada. The answer is always “it depends”. It depends on the type of business you plan to establish in Canada. The investment must be a reasonable amount to cover operational expenses in the next 1-2 years.

In general, it is our recommendation that you should aim to invest at least $100,000 CAD as seed capital to fund your business Startup costs in year 1, provided that your business model is an “asset-light” business (IT, consulting businesses etc.). Realistically, you should have access to $300,000 – $500,000+ CAD in liquid funds if the business requires additional funding before it generates revenues.

Please keep in mind that you should NOT invest your entire savings into your business in Canada. Every new business venture carries substantial risks, especially when you are entering foreign markets. Having access to sufficient capital is important for your business success and immigration application.

4. Commitment & Execution

Once you have your business plan ready you should start taking steps to execute it before submitting your immigration application. You must demonstrate your commitment to your business plan execution as a part of your immigration application. There are many ways to demonstrate your commitment to your business vision. For example, designing a corporate identity for your Canadian business, ordering equipment or products, renting premises, hiring local staff and etc.

The more steps you take to launch your Canadian business prior to application, the better are your chances of getting a positive result.

5. Absence of Criminality & Clean Travel History

Lastly, you must have no history of criminality or prior incidents of breaching the immigration laws of Canada or any other country. Having a criminal record from any country will likely reduce your chances of success in an immigration application. Canadian authorities may find you to be inadmissible to Canada depending on the seriousness of your criminal record. The absence of criminal history is imperative if you wish to succeed in any of the available options for start-up immigration to Canada.

How Sobirovs Can Help You to Obtain Entrepreneur’s Visa

We can assist you with your application to come to Canada as an Entrepreneur to start and operate your business. Besides, we will ensure that the business plan fits the Canadian realities. Our goal is to help you succeed in making a profit and immigrating. Book a meeting with our lawyers to discuss your business idea.


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IMPORTANT: You can watch a detailed video about “Top 5 Tips to Start a Business in Canada and Immigrate as a Foreign Entrepreneur” below.