*this blog was written as an introduction to our most recent whitepaper, which is available here*
It has been awhile since I’ve blogged, and I’d like to touch on the core of our work to date: entrepreneurship, immigrants and the importance of SMEs to our local economies.
For a little over a year, and with the support of MTCU, as well as our partners, we have been working to develop strategies to attract and retain immigrants to smaller communities. From our research, we found a very narrow focus: solving business succession issues in second-tier and rural areas by connecting disenchanted immigrants to entrepreneurship.
Imagine two very different people that want the same thing: fulfilling, well paying careers. Let’s imagine that the first is an immigrant who came to Canada with an education and valuable work experience, and chooses to live in Toronto. They begin their job search with a strong base of experience and education, only to find that both held little weight here. Needing some means to survive, they likely end up in a low skill or survival job while their human capital atrophies. This was not the Canada that was promised to them.
Now imagine an ageing entrepreneur who has put a good part of themselves into building a successful business. They now find that their children may be unwilling or unable to take over the business, or they may have no clear successor. How can they find a way to be compensated for their life’s work?
By connecting these two individuals together, we can give the immigrant a meaningful opportunity, higher quality of life and increase their lifetime earning potential. For the ageing entrepreneur, we can give them the reward that they deserve for running a successful business. But we are forgetting a very important key player: the community.
The community as a whole will no longer need to worry about widespread business closure. Jobs will be preserved, and as a new, energetic entrepreneur comes in, businesses will likely be expanded to employ more people. As time goes on, entirely new businesses may be created. The municipality also knows that moving forward, it will have a lrger, younger base of taxpayers and community leaders. This is truly a win/win situation.
Our whitepaper describes this in further detail, and as always we welcome your feedback via twitter. If you aren’t following us yet, be sure to add @rodolfo_oin and let us know your thoughts.
Project Manager, Ontario Immigrant Network