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Immigrant Entrepreneurship

Barriers and Facilitators to Growth

Immigrants to Canada drive economic development and innovation through their participation in entrepreneurship. In Canada, immigrants represent a significant percentage of the country’s entrepreneurs, and their companies are more likely to serve export markets than companies owned or managed by non-immigrants. While governments have established programs to support highly skilled immigrants and entrepreneurs in order to drive economic development, immigrants still face many barriers to establishing and growing their own businesses.

This study explores the perspective of immigrant entrepreneurs in Ontario and the supports available to them. It aims to understand the factors that shape an immigrant entrepreneur’s decision in terms of where to locate their business. We focused on immigrant entrepreneurs in Mississauga, Niagara and Picton. Our study surveyed entrepreneurs with a focus on those born outside of Canada. In addition, we mapped existing services at the federal, provincial, and local level and interviewed relevant service providers working with immigrant entrepreneurs in order to understand gaps in available services.


August 2017

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