The road to business ownership can be challenging for anyone, but new immigrants to Canada sometimes face unique difficulties. These three tips can help you start a business successfully.
1. Build your credit score
Being new to Canada means you may not have a history of credit use to show banks when you seek a business loan. An easy solution is to sign up for a credit card and use it responsibly. You can also explore government programs, such as BDC’s Newcomer Entrepreneur Loan.
2. Understand local customers
To run a business anywhere, you need to understand who your customers are, what they like to buy and how they buy it. You can learn more about local markets by getting involved with volunteer organizations, business associations or a place of worship.
3. Start networking
As a newcomer who is an entrepreneur, networking is key. You can meet and develop contacts with businesses, organizations and associations in your cultural community, as well as the local chamber of commerce.
Some of your contacts can become valuable mentors. A mentor can be a huge help when starting a business. You can find mentors through various organizations, such as ACCES Employment, which runs the Entrepreneurship Connections program in partnership with BDC, and Futurpreneur Canada, which offers a six-month mentoring program.
Set yourself up for success
A final tip: It’s important to have enough money to cover personal expenses while waiting for your business to become profitable (at least six months of savings is a good rule of thumb).
The Canadian government’s Preparing to Work page offers resources for finding work, getting credentials assessed, language classes and newcomer services in your area.