Among skilled immigrants in Toronto, there is a growing emphasis on self-employment and entrepreneurship. According to the report from the Metcalf Foundation and Maytree “Immigrant Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship in the GTA,” by the late 2000s, 19% of Canada’s immigrants were self-employed, and were more likely than Canadian-born individuals to be self-employed.
For many new immigrants in particular, starting their own business is an attractive alternative employment strategy. The report from the Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto “The Economy and Resilience of Newcomers (EARN)” found that newcomers are more likely to enter into self-employment as a result of labour market difficulties than more established immigrants. In a labour market characterized by increasing temporary, part-time and casual employment, and decreasing permanent, professional job opportunities, the rising interest in entrepreneurialism is thus understandable.
Despite the fact that entrepreneurism can be a successful strategy for new immigrants, immigrants do still face a number of challenges and barriers. For example, the Metcalf/Maytree report noted that potential entrepreneurs need more organized support for creating business plans, expanding professional networks, and more start-up finance opportunities. However, if immigrant entrepreneurs are able to overcome these barriers, they have the potential to have a major impact not only for their own employment success but for many others in the region as well.
We have compiled a selection of resources that are available to help new immigrants their entrepreneurial journey. Check them out.