The Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream is an economic immigration program that nominates talented and eligible foreign-educated graduates from outside Canada for permanent residence in exchange for establishing startup enterprises and innovative businesses in Alberta.
The Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream is a great opportunity for interested candidates outside Canada looking for pathways to permanent residency.
In this article, you can learn:
- Overview of the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream
- Eligibility Criteria for the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream
- Designated Approved Agencies for Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream
Overview of the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream
The Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP) and approved designated organizations collaborated to create the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream.
Foreign graduates who want to apply for the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream must work with a designated agency. If the designated agency believes the foreign graduate meets the AAIP requirements, it will provide a letter of recommendation. The foreign graduate must submit a letter of recommendation and Expression of Interest (EOI) via the AAIP Portal.
The designated agency will evaluate business plans based on the foreign graduate’s ability to demonstrate market need or demand, the potential for successful market entry in the short- to medium-term, customer acquisition, business development, key partnerships, and financial plans to fund the development and operation of the startup.
The designated agency will submit a written report evaluating the proposed business plan. Foreign graduates must submit this report with their Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream Business Application.
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Eligibility Criteria for the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream
To be eligible for this stream, you must meet the following requirements.
You must have a minimum of 6 months of full-time work experience. It can include actively managing or running a business or its equivalent. For example, work experience with a business incubator or accelerator is equivalent.
- Have completed a post-secondary degree from an institution outside of Canada with an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA).
- The degree must be:
- Completed within the last ten years of EOI submission; and
- It should be equivalent to a Canadian degree.
To reflect your interest, you must have a business plan with projected financials. Interested applicants should prepare a 10 minutes presentation with only slides outlining the prospective business venture and focus on what an investor would want to see.
As an interested applicant, you must be able to read, write, understand and speak in English or French. The requirements for each are:
- The minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level for each English language skill is CLB 5
- Minimum Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) level for each French language skill is NCLC 5
- At the time of EOI filing, official test results must be less than two years old
The AAIP accepts only the following language tests:
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS) General Training Test
- Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) General Test
Suppose the business is located in an urban area. In that case, it must have a minimum of 34% ownership or a minimum of 51% ownership if it is located in a regional area outside the Calgary and Edmonton Census Metropolitan Areas.
Business Partners must be either Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. Moreover, the business should not be on the list of ineligible businesses.
Before coming to Alberta, a minimum investment from the candidate’s (or spouse’s or common-law partner’s) personal equity or a recognized Canadian financial institution, venture capital, or angel investment firm is required.
The minimum investment required for an urban centre is $100,000, whereas the minimum investment required for a regional location is $50,000. As a result, more points will be rewarded for higher levels of investment before moving to Alberta. Points are awarded for the metropolitan core or the regional area, but not both.
Letter of recommendation
A recommendation letter from an AAIP-approved designated agency is required.
Interested applicants must show that they have the necessary funds to establish their firm and support themselves while on a work permit and launching their startup.
The minimum settlement funds needed are based on the Low Income Cut-Offs (LICOs).
The table shows the settlement funds needed based on the number of family members (including yourself) and the population size of the community where you wish to establish your business.
The figures in the chart represent the funds required for at least the next six months to settle and support yourself (and your family, if relevant) while starting your business in Alberta.
Designated Approved Agencies for Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream
The designated agencies will help you plan and set up your business. The authorized agency’s responsibility is to:
- Help with the marketing of the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream
- Determine a foreign graduate’s entrepreneurial preparedness and the probable success of a startup by reviewing the business idea and assisting with developing a business plan.
- Choose international graduates to recommend for the AAIP
- Connect foreign graduates with suitable networks, and provide business counselling, coaching, and advice when starting a firm in Alberta and trying to meet the Business Performance Agreement standards
Foreign graduates who want to apply to the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream should contact one of the recognized designated agencies listed below: