Canada Should Support Immigrant Entrepreneurs to Improve International Trade, Says New Report

Canada’s effort to diversify trade and strengthen its economy can be benefited through better government support for immigrant entrepreneurs who come through Canada investor visa, says a new report from the Conference Board of Canada.

The interest of Canadian government in tapping the markets in Asia and South America is growing. Improving the success rate of immigrant entrepreneurs through Canada investor visa particularly those involved in knowledge-based industries will be in the best interest of Canada, says the report from Conference Board of Canada’s National Immigration Centre.

Immigrant entrepreneurs on Canada investor visa have valuable language skills, education, foreign business networks and something what is called in the report as “important know-what knowledge” to develop markets, such as consumer preferences and emerging trends.

According to the report, entrepreneurs who have international experience have higher probability of doing business abroad and succeed. With these skills and experience they are in a better position as compared to Canadian-born counterparts.

The points highlights a study that shows a 10% increase in immigrant population through Canada investor visa but with only one percent increase in its exports.

The report says – if we take a look at the numbers, a 10% increase in immigrant population of Canada of 7.5 million people would result in merchandise exports increase by $5.5 billion.

The report has observed that a number of unique challenges are faced by immigrant entrepreneurs which are not there for Canadian-born counterparts. These challenges include weak business and social networks in Canada, cultural barriers, problems in financing and accessing bank loans and insufficient familiarity with available international and domestic business supports.

These challenges are of quite big size in case of immigrant entrepreneurs who have been living in Canada for less than 10 years.

Some numbers from Statistics Canada back up the studies shown in the report. According to 2018 statistics it has been found that just 51% of businesses that were started between 2003 and 2009 by immigrant entrepreneurs remained in operation for nearly seven years. On the other hand, 58% of businesses started by Canadian-born entrepreneurs remained operational for that period.

Four Recommendations

Four key suggestions have been put forward by the Conference Board of Canada to improve the success rate of immigrant entrepreneurs and harness the potential of internationally connected and educated immigrants for Canada’s trade efforts.

Provide better networks for recent immigrant entrepreneurs

  1. Enhance awareness of international and domestic business support
  2. Provide settlement support programs that are more dedicated
  3. Improve availability of finance