Canada needs to diversify and expand its international trade to strengthen its economy. In light of their foreign language skills, engagement in knowledge-based industries, and predisposition to export beyond Canada’s traditional markets, immigrant entrepreneurs are ideal for helping to advance Canada’s international trade agenda. However, when it comes to firm size, business survival rates, and export revenues, immigrant entrepreneurs underperform compared with their Canadian-born counterparts, due to unique challenges that they face.
This report provides an overview of these challenges and offers suggestions in four areas: strengthening their networks, raising awareness of domestic and international business supports, creating dedicated settlement support programs, and improving access to financing. Addressing these challenges will help immigrant entrepreneurs perform better—and help advance Canada’s international trade agenda.