Entrepreneurs: Canada’s coveted immigrants


The country wants to attract those who will make the economy of tomorrow and gives them the means with new ad hoc programs.

A little over a month ago, the Quebec government unveiled a long-awaited draft regulation that, if passed – probably this summer – will profoundly modify certain immigration rules in the Belle Province. One of the very important aspects of this project concerns entrepreneurs, for whom there was no longer a dedicated program.

Now entrepreneurs represent today a population particularly cherished by the governments: one sees it in France with Emmanuel Macron, who had not hesitated to declare “Entrepreneur is the new France”. We see it in Britain, which hopes to retain, despite the Brexit, these men and women so valuable to the economy. And we see it in Canada, anxious to seduce the bearers of innovative projects. The country ranks 11th in the latest study of the IMD Lausanne for its ability to attract and keep talent.

The federal government was the first to set the tempo: after a five-year pilot project, which saw the creation of nearly 70 innovative companies by nearly 120 immigrants now permanent residents, in March 2018 it sustained its “Start” -up Visa Programm “ . The principle? Allow foreign entrepreneurs, supported by an investment fund, a business angel group or a Canadian government-approved incubator, and with sufficient resources, to quickly access permanent residence. For the federal Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, this program is “win for Canadians because it generates skilled jobs and strengthens the economy”.

But competition is fierce between the different provinces to attract the best and most enterprising talents. Quebec has therefore concocted its own program: the company must be supported by an accelerator, an incubator or a university entrepreneurship center, and may have a maximum of three foreign nationals among its founders. There is no minimum investment required. The immigration application includes the business plan and, if accepted, the candidate receives a three-year Quebec Selection Certificate, during which he or she can submit an application for permanent residence. Québec’s draft regulation also provides for a favorable scenario for the acquisition of a company: the Belle-province is indeed faced with the challenge of succession for its SMEs; According to public authorities, 30 to 60,000 Quebec companies risk disappearing within five years because of a lack of a buyer. Same thing all over the country: near

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Great novelty in Quebec: there will be no more quota for the category of immigrant entrepreneurs. “It’s a Quebec equivalent to the federal program, confirms Marc-André Séguin, a partner at the Exeo law firm, all start-up plans are unstable in the United States, Canada is looking to be attractive, Quebec could not stay behind. ”

Private actors have already taken the lead: in 2015, HEC Montréal set up an entrepreneurship support program for immigrant entrepreneurs. Called ” EntrePrism “, it is in its third promotion and counts every year several start-ups created by French (five out of 15 to 20 on average). Are the French more likely to succeed than others? They have at least as much, provided they adapt to the local business culture, much more Anglo-Saxon than Latin! One thing is certain: immigrating and doing business is part of the same process. A risk-taking for another life.


Also published on Medium.