Starting a business in Canada for foreigners

Starting a business in Canada can prove to be one of the best things that you decide to do about your career. It is a lucrative place not only for natives of Canada but also foreigners. This article will focus on various steps that you must undertake to invest in Canada and build a business. But before we move on to how to buy a business in Canada or anything similar, let us go ahead and have a look at the different types of immigration options available in Canada.


Foreign entrepreneurs who want to establish their already established business in Canada or want to relocate to the nation can apply for Canada's Entrepreneur Work Permit program. This programme is highly suitable for such applicants. For this, the entrepreneur must own at least 50% of shares in a Canadian company and should also be able to prove that the business will prove to be beneficial for the economy of Canada and that it will create jobs.


Another valid option for business owners residing in foreign countries to move to Canada is Intra-Company Transfer or ICT programme. It allows entrepreneurs to extend their business in Canada. After a year, a lot of pathways open for this visa holder to gain permanent residency.


This programme is suitable for innovators and founders of unique startups who want to get permanent residency in Canada. This visa allows up to 5 founders and their immediate family to get a residency, however, do remember that this visa has extremely difficult requirements to fulfil.


This programme allows foreign nationals to live, work, and invest in Canada permanently. This programme is quite good for people who are wondering how to start a small business in Canada from India.


The Owner-Operator LMIA Program was well-received for many years until it was shut down in April 2021. But if you want the same benefits, you can always consider the Entrepreneur Work Permit option.


Here is a step-by-step guide on how you can open a business in Canada. Here are the steps as follows:

Develop a Business Idea: To begin with, it is crucial to develop a strong business concept. This entails comprehending the needs and preferences of your intended customers and verifying that your product or service aligns with the Canadian market. Additionally, to satisfy the requirements for business immigration, you must exhibit the relevant expertise and leadership abilities necessary to establish and manage your enterprise successfully in Canada. Substantiating your educational qualifications and professional background or business ownership experience in your application will assist in persuading the Immigration Officer to evaluate your submission.

Seek Mentorship and Networking: Obtaining guidance from experienced professionals, colleagues, and mentors can make a significant difference in starting a business in Canada as a foreign national. Establishing a network within Canada can aid in gaining a better understanding of the Canadian market.

Develop a Comprehensive Business Plan: Creating a thorough business plan is crucial before embarking on a business venture in Canada, particularly when applying for a work permit. Your business proposal should be specific, feasible in the Canadian market, and thoroughly researched. It should encompass the following elements: a description of your business model, value proposition, competitive advantage, risks and challenges, long-term vision, short-term execution strategy, team and staffing plan, key partners and suppliers, monetization strategy, market research, and marketing strategy. However, it's important to ensure that your business is not an "owner-operator" type that only generates revenue for you or your partner. Instead, it should necessitate your active participation and day-to-day management, have a sound long-term expansion and growth strategy, create employment opportunities for Canadians, and make a significant contribution to the Canadian economy.

Secure Sufficient Funds: The financial requirements for starting a business in Canada may vary depending on the type of enterprise. It's essential to determine the required amount of investment in Canada and plan accordingly. Entrepreneurs must demonstrate that their investment will benefit Canada and have adequate funds to execute their business plan. Funding options may include personal savings, venture capital funds, other ventures, bank loans, or government grants and loans. To satisfy immigration requirements, it's advisable to invest a minimum of $100,000 as seed capital to cover initial business expenses, with access to $300,000 to $500,000 or more in liquid funds if additional funding is necessary before generating revenue. It's crucial to avoid investing all of your savings in a Canadian business, as new business ventures carry significant risks, particularly when entering foreign markets. Sufficient capital is critical for business success and immigration applications.

Register and Incorporate Your Business: Registering and incorporating your Canadian company is essential for several reasons. Your business structure can impact its future growth, and there are significant differences between partnerships, sole proprietorships and various types of corporations. Incorporation is also a requirement for Canadian business immigration programs. Foreign entrepreneurs seeking to apply for these programs may be unfamiliar with Canada's incorporation laws and regulations, making it advisable to seek professional guidance.

Obtain Permits and Licenses: To establish a prosperous business in Canada, obtaining the appropriate permits and licenses is crucial. The permits needed may vary depending on the industry in which the business operates. For example, the permits required for a corner store are distinct from those required for a chemical factory. Operating a business without the required permits can result in substantial penalties or even the shutdown of the business.

Open a Bank Account and Apply for a Business Credit Card: To manage a new business's finances efficiently, it's essential to have a separate bank account for business transactions. Maintaining a separate banking setup allows for better expense tracking, building a credit history for the business, and accessing financial data to make informed decisions. Researching the types of business accounts offered by various Canadian banks is necessary to determine which account best suits the business's needs.

Launch Your Business: If you have completed the above steps to start a business in Canada, congratulations! You're likely eager to launch your new venture. However, it's important to remember that there are still immigration considerations to address. One crucial aspect of the immigration application is demonstrating a commitment to executing the business plan. It's advisable to take steps to execute the plan before submitting the immigration application. Several ways to demonstrate your commitment to the business vision include undergoing federal or provincial incorporation, registering a provincial sales tax account with the Canada Revenue Agency, ordering equipment or products, renting premises, and hiring local staff, among others.

Evaluate and Self-Reflect: Regularly analyzing your business operations, successes, and failures is crucial to achieving a thriving business in Canada. Continuous improvement helps identify areas for growth and stay ahead of the competition. As the market is continuously evolving, it's essential to adapt your business to changing conditions. Successful entrepreneurs have a passion for problem-solving and learning, so take time to reflect on how your business is operating to keep it competitive.

Clear Criminal Record and Travel History: Having a clean criminal record and travel history is a crucial factor in successfully applying for any available options for startup immigration to Canada. Any previous violation of immigration laws, either in Canada or elsewhere, could result in inadmissibility to Canada. Furthermore, a criminal record from any country can significantly reduce your chances of success in an immigration application.

Starting a business in Canada as a foreigner may be a challenging process, but with proper planning and access to professional guidance, it can be a rewarding and profitable venture. It is essential to conduct thorough research, comply with all regulations and requirements, and seek professional advice to ensure a successful launch. Continuous improvement is also necessary to keep your business thriving in the ever-changing market.


With its team of qualified experts, Vazir Group can help you understand the nuances that are necessary to start and run a business in Canada. It does not matter whether you own a small business or a large company, Vazir Group is here to help you.

You can also get help for business ventures in other nations here at Vazir Group.

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