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Start business in Alberta!

As the summer approaches and final-year students prepare for their final exams, uncertain of their employment prospects, the idea of starting a business right after the graduation might sound scary. But so exciting at the same time.

Over the recent years one of the most attractive destination for foreigners coming to Canada is Alberta. It is a wealthy province with many job and business opportunities, high living standards, growing economy, extraordinary nature and wildlife, etc.

So why should international graduates educated inside Alberta or outside Canada start a business here?

First of all, newcomers have the advantage of seeing things from a fresh new perspective, they can spot industry gaps and capitalize on them providing the quality service or product that the market needed.

Second of all, Alberta provides great economic immigration program for those wishing to start a business. The Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP), formerly the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program, is an economic immigration program that nominates people for permanent residence in Alberta. Nominees must have skills to fill job shortages or be planning to buy or start a business in Alberta. They must also be able to provide for their families.

If you are nominated through the program, you may apply for permanent residence status together with your spouse or common-law partner, and dependent children. The final decision though is made by federal government as in other Provincial Nominee Programs.

AAIP has 2 types of streams:

1. Streams for workers :

  • Alberta Opportunity Stream for skilled workers who are currently working in an eligible occupation in Alberta;

  • Express Entry Stream for candidates who have a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of at least 300, and who are currently working in an eligible occupation, including the Accelerated Tech Pathway for Tech workers.

  • Rural Renewal Stream (launched on February 16, 2022) for candidates with a job offer from an Alberta employer for work in a rural Alberta community.

2. Streams for entrepreneurs :

  • Rural Entrepreneur Stream (launched on February 16, 2022) for entrepreneurs who want to acquire a business or start one in a rural Alberta community.

  • Farm Stream for experienced farmers planing to buy or start a farm in Alberta;

  • Graduate Entrepreneur Stream for international graduates of a designated post-secondary institution in Alberta, who wish to start a business in Alberta.

  • Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream for foreign nationals who graduated from outside Canada and who wish to start a business in Alberta.

So what is the difference between Graduate Entrepreneur Stream and Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream for international students?

Graduate Entrepreneur Stream

Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream


Is for international graduates of approved Alberta post-secondary institutions

Is for foreign-educated international graduates

​📝 Minimum equirements

  • At least 2 years full time education in Alberta;

  • A valid Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) at time of application;

  • A minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level of 7;

  • Must establish a new business or operate an existing business with at least 34% ownership;

  • A minimum of 6 months of full-time work experience of managing and/or owning the business;

  • Must have a business plan with projected financials;

  • Post-secondary education from a foreign institution, and have an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA). The degree must have been completed within the last 10 years;

  • A 10-minute slides-only presentation that explains the business and details what an investor what want to see;

  • A minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level of 5;

  • At least 34% ownership if the business is located in an urban centre, or at least 51% ownership if located in outside Calgary or Edmonton;

  • Must make a minimum investment of $100,000 for an urban centre, or $50,000 for a regional area;

  • Must have a letter of recommendation from an AAIP-approved agency;

  • Must have enough money to set up their business and support yourself and your family in Canada.

​💯 Bonus points

  • Work Experience: Minimum of 6 months of work experience that can be a combination of actively managing or owning the business or equivalent.

  • Economic Benefit: If you can provide an economic benefit to Alberta through: job creation, economic sector (e.g. energy, agriculture, financial services, fintech etc), business location (e.g. rural), business succession, investment, developed intellectual property, partnership, or support from business incubator, business accelerator, venture capital or angel investor.

  • Age: If you are between 21 to 49 years old

  • Spouse: If your spouse or common-law partner has one or more of the following:

  • 1 year of continuous full-time employment in Alberta;

  • Completed 2 years of full-time study at an Alberta post-secondary institution;

  • A minimum CLB 5 in English or NCLC 5 in French in each language ability.

  • You have Alberta relatives

  • Business management, ownership or equivalent experience - the more experience you have the more points awarded

  • Job Creation

  • Language proficiency: the higher your language score the more points you get

  • Education: If you completed your degree within the last 5 years at the time of EOI submission or if you have Master's degree or Doctoral degree you get more points.

  • Bonus points for bigger investments prior to coming to Alberta

  • Investment after the launch of your business

✍️ Procedure

​Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) through the AAIP online portal. You will receive an EOI score within 30 days and the highest-ranking candidates will be asked to submit a Business Application.

​Acquire a letter of reccomendation from a designated agency (Empowered Startups or Platform Calgary).

Submit your letter of recommendation with their Expression of Interest (EOI) through the AAIP Portal.

The agency will also provide a written report on their assessment of your proposed business plan. You must submit this report with your application.

Consult With Our Experts Now!

Immigration journey can be long and difficult, but with the help of experienced immigration professionals at Congra Immigration Services Inc you will be successfull obtaining Canadian permanent resident status.


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