Immigrant Entrepreneurship – A Boost for Our Communities

Last year, over 250,000 newcomers choose Canada as their new home. Often these newcomers flock to centres such as Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto. While these cities certainly offer diverse communities and a multitude of newcomer services, they may also be contributing to a substandard experience.

A recent study showed that Toronto was the most miserable city in Canada, and this was due in large part to the high proportion of immigrants. This is not to say that immigrants make others and themselves miserable, but rather that there is a mismatch between immigrant expectations and outcomes, particularly in larger centres. Each year, we actively seek the best and brightest from developing nations, and only a small percentage are able to find opportunities that match their skill sets.

Referred to sometimes as “Taxi Driver Syndrome” many foreign trained professionals end up in low-skilled jobs. As newcomers adjust to their new lives in large cities, they often become entrenched in ethnic enclaves and from there, the integration process is seriously hampered. Credential recognition is an ongoing issue, and few fields allow for an easy transition into a career that is aligned with a newcomer’s past experience. We see this across all regulated professions, and across all ethnicities. However, there is one unregulated profession that does not care about your ethnicity or where you obtained your credentials: entrepreneurship.

Many immigrants come to Canada seeking a better life, and often they turn to entrepreneurship to do so. Why? Because if they have the business accumen, courage and the right idea, they need not be limited in what they can achieve.

Newcomers are naturally risk takers, having given up so much to come to a new country. Poverty, persecution and even death are just some of the risks faced by many immigrants. The risk of business failure is likely miniscule in comparison, and with the motivation to create a new life, immigrants are clearly an excellent source of new entrepreneurs.

Check back later this month for more on why immigrant entrepreneurship is just the boost that our communities need.