DECRYPTION – From self-employed entrepreneurs to subsidiaries of large companies and SMEs, the province is widely open to foreign investors, particularly outside of Vancouver.
This article is taken from Special Figaro “From East to West – Living in Canada why not you?”.This issue offers you to answer the questions you ask yourself as simply as possible. This, with the help of practical texts, maps and testimonials from French people living in Canada.
Entrepreneurs or future entrepreneurs who want to settle in British Columbia have every interest in filing an immigration application in the “Entrepreneur Immigration” category included in the BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP). Candidates able to contribute to economic growth and innovation by investing in the province are actively sought.
The catch is that the provincial government recently put its core Entrepreneur Immigration program on hold pending a review of its priorities. However, you can still apply in the “strategic projects” section, which supports the establishment of foreign companies, and in the “Regional Pilot” category.
Finding salvation outside of Vancouver
Attracting employees from cities, especially immigrants, is never easy. Attracting foreign entrepreneurs is no less! To remedy the situation, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs launched a pilot project in 2019 – BC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration Regional Pilot – which will continue until 2024.
“65 municipalities responded to the call by identifying with local organizations the type of businesses they would like to have in their area. We are currently helping 50 of them with less than 75,000 inhabitants to attract foreign entrepreneurs through representations in European, Asian or American markets”, says Aireen Luney, director of the immigration promotion development program at the provincial Ministry of Municipal Affairs. French side, “We work closely with the Canadian Embassy in Paris”.
Eight communities on Vancouver Island, for example, have come together under the TechIsland banner to encourage investment in the technology sector. Salmon Arm, in the center of the province, seeks agricultural producers, agri-food industries and technological services. The mining town of Fort St John, in northeastern British Columbia, would like new local services (restaurants, shops, florist, etc.).
SMEs at the forefront
British Columbia has nearly 400,000 SMEs employing 1.1 million people. The government seeks to facilitate the creation of small businesses. Its Small Business BC service (smallbusinessbc.ca) offers documentation for opening a business, including a very comprehensive guide: “Starting a small business”. He also organizes seminars, webinars and individual consultations to create his own business.
Going into business in French?
The British Columbia Economic Development Corporation (SDECB) is one of the best allies of Francophones who want to start a business there. Whether you want to become a self-employed entrepreneur, set up a small business or an SME, it offers you personalized support to make your project a success, monthly development workshops, mentoring and virtual meetings, marketing advice, etc.
Arnaud Rouillot, the self-employed engineer
At 28, Arnaud Rouillot does not regret his life choice started in 2012. He was working in Paris as a computer engineer when he went to a Destination Canada Forum. “I was looking for something else in a climate that was not too cold, a big city with nearby mountains”. PVT in hand, he takes a flight to Vancouver, lands a job in a small computer company, obtains a “young professional” visa extension, then his permanent residence while working for a large company specializing in software for the finance.
“After 14 years, I had a taste for freedom and decided to become self-employed”. In 2021, he became a consultant to companies to improve the quality of their software and ended up having only one big client: Matador Network, based in San Francisco and working in the field of travel and entertainment. “I work remotely four days a week; I earn more and enjoy life, nature, restaurants… What is he missing? “A good little raclette”. His advice: “take any job”. Even under-qualified, this first experience then opens many doors.
Ingrid Broussillon, Morello Cherry Polyglot
Ingrid didn’t wait for anyone to start her own small business in Vancouver. A graduate in IT applied to business management in Toulouse, this native of Guadeloupe worked from 2005 to 2016 at Société Générale in Paris. At the same time, she took acting lessons and became a storyteller on behalf of her association Les Griottes voyageuses. In 2017, she applied for a PVT to improve her English in Vancouver. Her first job in a start-up frustrates her. “My level of English was not good enough”.
Having become self-employed, she obtained contracts to tell stories in French-language daycare centers and schools in the province. “I created participatory interactive tales and then ways of learning French through theater and improvisation games” for young people and adults. In 2020, she won the SDECB’s Small Business BC competition, a springboard to make herself known! In addition to her contracts in French-speaking schools, she now gives group workshops to lawyers and government officials, other individuals online all over the world. At 40, she still dreams of good sausages in Vancouver but – more seriously – of having her own theater to develop her improvisation workshops.
“From East to West – Living in Canada why not you?”€8.90, available at newsstands and on the Figaro Store.