Better government support for immigrant entrepreneurs could benefit Canada’s efforts to diversify international trade and strengthen its economy, according to a new report by the Conference Board of Canada. Immigrant entrepreneurs are ideal to help advance Canada’s international trade agenda due to their:
- foreign language skills
- engagement in knowledge-based industries
- predisposition to export beyond Canada’s traditional markets
When it comes to firm size, business survival rates, and export revenues, immigrant entrepreneurs underperform compared with their Canadian-born counterparts.
- Conference Board of Canada
“If the latest figures are used, a 10 per cent increase in Canada’s immigrant population of 7.5 million people would correspond to an increase in merchandise exports by $5.5 billion,” according to the report, suggesting a 10% increase in Canada's immigration population results in a 1% increase in exports.
In order to improve the success rate for immigrant entrepreneurs, the Conference Board recommends:
- Strengthen their networks
- Raise awareness of domestic and international business supports
- Create dedicated settlement support programs
- Improving access to financing to enhance immigrant entrepreneurs’ success and role in boosting Canada’s international trade
Canada has been actively recruiting immigrant entrepreneurs. Canada's Startup Visa Program is the first of its kind in the world and links innovative immigrant entrepreneurs with Canadian experienced private sector organizations that have expertise in working with start-ups. Calgary immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah explains,
The Start-up Visa Program focuses on entrepreneurs who want to immigrate to Canada and who can build businesses and create jobs for Canadians and Permanent Residents and help build a stronger Canada.