Alberta, which lies in the Canadian prairies, is one of Canada's most economically dynamic places. Its abundant fertile land, rich in essential natural resources such as oil, coal, iron, salt and limestone, has made Alberta one of the pillars of Canada’s primary industries.
Starting your own business in Alberta is aided by the provincial government, in conjunction with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), creating several immigration visa pathways that business immigrants can use to apply to move to Alberta.
From the Foreign Graduate Start-up Visa Stream to the Rural Entrepreneur Stream, there is no shortage of accessible immigration visa pathways. We will explore how to start a business in Alberta, Canada so that you can capitalize on the many business opportunities in Alberta.
Are You a Foreign Business Graduate Ready to Launch Your Own Business in Alberta? If you are, you’re in luck, you can learn how to launch your business in Alberta using several business immigration visa pathways!
Top Ways to Start Your Business in Alberta
Starting your own business in Alberta can be an exciting and challenging adventure. Alberta is known for its diverse economy, entrepreneurial spirit, and high quality of life. Entrepreneurs in the province have many opportunities to start and grow successful businesses.
This article explores the various ways you can start your business in Alberta.
Graduate Entrepreneur Stream
What is it?
The Graduate Entrepreneur Stream program allows graduates from eligible Canadian post-secondary institutions to start a business in Alberta. The GES was designed to enable eligible international graduates who possess the skills and experience needed to start and operate successful businesses in Alberta to move to the province.
How to Apply
To apply for the Graduate Entrepreneur Stream, applicants must meet the criteria below:
|Education||Have completed a degree or diploma from an eligible Alberta Advanced Education post-secondary institution within the last two years|
|Work permit||Have a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) issued by the IRCC still valid when submitting your Expression of Interest (EOI)|
|Language||Have at least a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) or Niveaux de Compétence Linguistique Canadiens (NCLC) level of 7 for all language competencies|
|Own at least 34% of the business|
Once applicants meet the eligibility requirements, they must submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP). If their EOI is selected, they can submit a full application. Successful applicants will receive a 2-year work permit to operate their business in Alberta. Applicants must follow this application process for the AAIP streams outlined below, except the Start-up Visa program.
Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream
What is it?
The Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream (FGES) program allows foreign entrepreneurs to start businesses in Alberta. The FGES was introduced with the intent to allow eligible foreign international graduates with the skills and experience to start and operate successful businesses in Alberta.
How to Apply
To apply for the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream, applicants must meet the criteria below:
|Education||Completed a degree with an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) from a post-secondary institution outside of Canada|
|Work Experience||Have at least six months full-time work experience actively managing or owning the business or equivalent (the equivalent can be work experience with a business incubator or accelerator)|
|Language||Minimum CLBor NCLC level of 5 for all language competencies|
|Business establishment||Own at least 34% of the business; if the business is situated in an urban area or at least 51% ownership if the business is in a regional area outside of Edmonton or Calgary|
What is it?
The Farmer Stream program allows experienced farmers to start a farming business in Alberta. The program was created to enable eligible foreign immigrant farmers with the skills and experience to move to the province and start and operate successful farming businesses in Alberta.
How to Apply
To apply for the Farmer Stream, applicants must meet the criteria below:
|Farm Management Skills||Candidates must prove they have farm management skills. This may include, but is not limited to, financial documentation, education, training, and work experience documentation; a proposed business plan for your farming business in Alberta; a document that proves a Canadian institution will finance your business venture.|
|Sufficient Financial Resources||Candidates must invest at least 500,000 CAD in a farming business in Alberta.|
|Primary Production Investment||Candidates must document their investment plans in a business plan and submit it to the AAIP. Alberta Agriculture and Irrigation will review the business plan.|
The Rural Entrepreneur Stream
What is it?
The Rural Entrepreneur Stream program allows entrepreneurs to start a business in rural Alberta. The stream was designed with the intent to bring eligible foreign entrepreneurs with the skills and experience to start and operate successful businesses in rural Alberta.
How to Apply
To apply for the Rural Entrepreneur Stream, applicants must meet the criteria below:
|Education||Completed a high school equivalent qualification to the Canadian standard with an ECA|
|Work experience||At least three years of experience as an active business owner/manager or four years minimum experience as a senior manager in the last ten years.|
|Language||Have at least a CLB or NCLC level of 4 for all language competencies|
|Business Establishment||Business Partners must be Citizens or Permanent Residents of Canada. Own at least 51% of a new business or 100% ownership for the succession of the business.|
What is it?
The Start-Up Visa program allows entrepreneurs to start a business in Canada. It was created to bring prospective foreign entrepreneurs who possess the skills and experience needed to start and operate successful businesses in Canada.
How to Apply
Applicants must meet the following criteria to apply for the Start-Up Visa:
- Have a letter of support from a designated organization
- Have at least 200,000 CAD in eligible business investment
- Pass security and medical clearances
- Score at least 5 on the CLB or NCLC
Learn more about how to apply for the Start-Up Visa program.
Once applicants meet the eligibility requirements, they must apply for Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). If their application is approved, they will receive a 2-year work permit to operate their business in Canada.
What Are the Top Businesses to Start in Alberta?
Alberta is a land of opportunities with a diverse economy. Starting a business is always daunting, especially if you are a foreign graduate looking to set up a shop in a new country. However, launching your business in Alberta can be smooth and rewarding with the right knowledge and resources. Here are the top businesses to start in Alberta.
If you have construction experience or a background in architecture or engineering, starting a construction company could be a lucrative business opportunity. The total value of the construction industry in Alberta is 31,6 billion, according to Statistics Canada.
The base annual wage for a construction worker in Alberta is 39,000 CAD, according to Canada’s Job Bank.
The funeral industry is recession-proof, making it a great business opportunity. Funeral homes offer a needed service to the community and are often passed down through generations.
If you have compassion and empathy for others during their need, starting a funeral home could be a fulfilling business venture. According to Statistics Canada, the overall value of the funeral services industry in Canada is 2,2 billion CAD.
The base annual wage for workers in the Funeral services industry in Alberta is 52,650 CAD, according to Canada’s Job Bank.
Alberta has a growing population, so there is a growing need for daycare services. Parents are always looking for safe and reliable daycare options for their children. If you have experience working with children or have a background in education, starting a daycare center could be a profitable business opportunity.
Dayworkers in Canada earn an average annual base salary of 34,125 CAD, according to Canada’s Job Bank.
According to Statistics Canada, the value of the daycare/Early Childhood Education industry in Canada is 1.14 billion CAD.
Learn more about the daycare services business through Early Childhood Immigration to Canada.
Alberta is known for its harsh winters, which means there is always a need for snow removal services. If you own a truck or snowblower and don't mind getting up early to clear sidewalks and driveways, starting a snow removal business could be a great way to earn extra income during winter. The market value of the Snow removal industry in Canada is 6.2 billion CAD, according to Statistics Canada.
Depending on your location in Alberta, please note that the snow removal services industry can be a seasonal business where business opportunities are low or non-existent during certain periods of the year.
Snow Removal workers can earn a base average annual salary of 58,500 CAD, according to Canada’s Job Bank.
Cleaning services are always in demand, especially in a busy province like Alberta. From residential to commercial properties, there is always a need for cleaning services. Cleaning services in Alberta are worth 1.2 billion CAD, according to Statistics Canada.
Starting a cleaning business could be profitable if you are detail-oriented and don't mind getting dirty. Among the most common cleaning services business in Alberta includes:
- Dry cleaning
- Commercial cleaning
- Window cleaning services
- Laundry services
The base annual average salary for cleaning service workers in Alberta is 29,640 CAD, according to Canada’s Job Bank.
With the rise of online shopping, there is a growing need for delivery services. From food delivery to package delivery, there are many opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to start a delivery business. The delivery business in Alberta is worth 3.72 billion CAD, according to Statistics Canada.
If you have a reliable vehicle and a good sense of direction, starting a delivery business could be a great way to capitalize on this growing trend. The most common types of delivery businesses in Canada are:
- Moving Business
- Food Delivery
- Flower Delivery Services
- Furniture Delivery and Assembly Business
Delivery Businesses workers in Alberta earn a base annual average salary of 37,050 CAD, according to Canada’s Job Bank.
Alberta is known for its agriculture industry, and dairy farming is a great business opportunity for those passionate about farming. With a growing demand for locally sourced dairy products, starting a dairy farm could be a profitable business venture.
Dairy farming in Alberta is valued at 14,4 billion CAD, according to Statistics Canada. The base annual average salary for a worker in the dairy farming industry in Alberta is 35,100 CAD, according to Canada’s Job Bank.
You can use the Agri-food Immigration Pilot to immigrate to Canada as a Dairy farmer.
Waste management is one of the core solutions for pollution. Garbage disposal service businesses are one of the most common forms of waste management, providing a necessary service in any community. Alberta is no exception.
Starting a garbage disposal business could be profitable if you own a truck and don't mind getting your hands dirty. The value of the waste management business in Alberta is 1.8 billion CAD, according to Statistics Canada.
Workers in the garbage disposal industry earn an average base salary of 58,500 CAD, according to Canada Job Bank.
Pet daycare is a growing industry, and Alberta's pet owners are always looking for safe and reliable daycare options for their furry friends. Starting a pet daycare business could be rewarding if you have a passion for animals and experience working with pets. The pet daycare industry in Alberta is worth 1, 08 billion CAD, according to Statistics Canada.
The average annual salary for workers in the pet daycare industry is 33,150 CAD, according to Canada Job Bank.
Lawn care or landscaping services are always in demand, especially during summer. If you have experience working with landscaping or have a green thumb, starting a lawn care business could be a great way to earn extra income during the summer months. The market value of the lawn care industry in Alberta is 23,1 billion CAD, according to Statistics Canada.
Workers in the lawn care or landscaping services industry can earn an average annual salary of 36,075 CAD, according to Canada’s Job Bank.
Why Should You Start Your Business in Alberta?
Alberta is a great place to start a business, and here are some reasons why:
Government Incentives and Benefits
The Alberta government offers many incentives and benefits to entrepreneurs looking to start a business there. From tax credits to grants, entrepreneurs have many opportunities to get their businesses off the ground!
Access to an Educated Labor Pool
Alberta is home to many universities and colleges, so a large pool of educated workers is available. This makes it easier for businesses to find skilled workers to fill their positions.
Consumer Market With High Disposable Income
According to the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC), Alberta has a high per capita income of 78,154 CAD. This means there is a large consumer market with a high disposable income. This makes it easier for businesses to sell their products and services, especially when there is no high demand.
Provides a Path to Permanent Residence
Starting a business in Alberta can be a pathway to permanent residency in Canada. The Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream program, allows foreign graduates to start a business in Canada and become permanent residents.
Starting a business in Alberta can be rewarding and profitable. By choosing the right business opportunity, taking advantage of government incentives and benefits, and tapping into Alberta's educated labor pool and consumer market, entrepreneurs can set themselves up for success. With the right knowledge and resources, launching your business in Alberta can be a smooth and rewarding process.
Can Business Immigrants Move to Canada Without Using the Start-Up Visa Program?
Business immigrants can move to Canada without using the Start-Up Visa program. Other programs are available for entrepreneurs looking to move to Canada, such as the Self-Employed Persons Program.
How Much Money Do You Need To Cover Living Expenses When You Get to Canada?
The money you need to cover living expenses when you get to Canada depends on your circumstances. You must have enough to cover your living expenses for at least six months. The Canadian government recommends having at least 10,000 CAD to cover your living expenses.