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Immigrant Entrepreneurship - Barriers and Facilitators to Growth (2017)

Posted on:
June 4, 2022

"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."

Summary of some findings

  • In spite of perceptions that immigrants are often pushed into entrepreneurship because of exclusion from traditional job markets, this study shows that for many immigrants entrepreneurship is a desirable career path that can offer them opportunities and benefits
  • Immigrants are slightly more likely than Canadian-born entrepreneurs to see entrepreneurship as a desirable career choice that comes with status and respect and that is positively portrayed in the media
  • Newcomer entrepreneurs face more barriers than Canadian-born entrepreneurs in terms of understanding legislation, navigating the landscape of regulations and taxes involved in establishing a businesses, and finding financing and talent
  • Newcomer entrepreneurs face more barriers accessing financing than do Canadian-born entrepreneurs and are likely to report receiving government funding
  • Many diverse programs are available but most programs that focus on building awareness and engagement target post-secondary students. There is little available for aspiring entrepreneurs or newcomers. Similarly, while many programs focus on skills development, they often lack practical application

Recommendations

  • Examine policies to ensure easy transition for students to entrepreneurial opportunities
  • Ensure service providers consider entrepreneurship as a viable opportunity and have information about relevant supports and services
  • Develop diversity accountability in government-funded entrepreneurship services and programs, including attentiveness to issues facing women, immigrants and other under-represented groups
  • Provide more robust support to raise awareness of entrepreneurship as a viable path and feature success stories
  • Support networking, mentoring and sponsorship of immigrant entrepreneurs by connecting them to other entrepreneurs
  • Provide more multilingual supports
  • Recognize that entrepreneurial opportunities and businesses are diverse and extend beyond technology
  • Provide better integration of services, including “concierge” approaches to providing information about the full range of programs supporting startups, talent, financing, research and development
  • Immigrant Entrepreneurship - Barriers and Facilitators to Growth (2017)

Summary

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.
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