Entrepreneur Immigration to Canada: How to Do it and Where to Go

Entrepreneur Immigration to Canada: How to Do it and Where to Go

Canada is one of the top choices for immigration amongst international entrepreneurs, and for good reason. In 2021, small businesses made up more than 98 percent of all employer businesses in Canada—that is a whole lot of entrepreneur-led companies. Between the country’s rapidly growing technology sectors and the government’s support for immigrant entrepreneurs, Canada is the place to grow innovative startup businesses into thriving companies. 

But how do you start the process of moving to Canada? Where in Canada is the best place to live and grow your business? We have provided the building blocks to begin your journey as a successful business owner in Canada.


How do you immigrate to Canada as an Entrepreneur?


The Government of Canada offers a Start-Up Visa Program (“SUV”) for immigrant entrepreneurs, providing the opportunity to gain permanent residence in the country. The program is designed to attract entrepreneurs from around the globe to move to Canada to grow their innovative businesses, bringing diverse skills, job creation, and global competitiveness.

Basic eligibility requirements for SUV include having a qualifying business, a letter of support from a designated organization, sufficient and available funds, and entrepreneurs must be proficient in English or French.

Learning more about SUV’s program requirements and other details such as what is considered a qualifying business, the associated costs, and how to apply is a great way to begin planning for relocation.


Where is the best place in Canada for immigrant entrepreneurs?


Canada is the second largest country on Earth, with varying landscapes, cultures, industries, and cities across the nation. Every region of Canada has its own charm and advantages, but it is important to consider where you will most enjoy living and where your business will be most successful.


Living and Business Success in Canada: Rural vs. City


You may be familiar with Canada’s major cities such as Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto, but the majority of Canada is made up of rural communities. 

As an entrepreneur trying to grow a business in a new country, choosing a balance between rural and city is the best way to immerse yourself in life in Canada.

Living in a smaller, quieter town close to a large metropolis gives you the best of both worlds: You can enjoy idyllic lakes and landscapes, and belong to a tight-knit community while remaining a short drive from business opportunities that a large city can offer. 

Building your business in a rural community also has the advantage of generally having fewer competitors, whereas in a large city it is likely that there will be many competing businesses offering similar products and services.


Peterborough and the Kawarthas: Ideal Community for Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Canada


In the province of Ontario, located a 1.5-hour drive east of Toronto and close to the U.S. border, is the region of Peterborough and the Kawarthas. Surrounded by hundreds of fresh lakes, rivers, and acres of farmland, the City of Peterborough is a thriving business community that is home to less than 100,000 residents.

Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas, a startup incubator designated to offer one of the only rural Startup Visa Programs for immigrant entrepreneurs in Canada, is located in downtown Peterborough along the bank of the beautiful Otonabee River. 

Specializing in innovation and technology-driven companies, the Innovation Cluster’s STARTup Visa Program Canada provides business mentorship, knowledge, skills training, and networking opportunities to prepare international entrepreneurs for business success in Canada and the ability to compete on a global scale.

The Peterborough-based program sets entrepreneurs up for success beginning with a 3-month virtual accelerator program prior to arriving in Canada, followed by a 12-month in-person business incubation program.

The Innovation Cluster operates three cohorts of the STARTup Visa Program per year, with the next cohort beginning in October 2022. Apply today!


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