A flourishing financial services market, availability to a diverse talent pool and business-friendly climate makes Canada a compelling avenue for entrepreneurs.
Known for its rugged mountains, picturesque valleys, historic cities, panoramic scenery, and uninhabited lands, Canada may not be the first to appear on the itinerary of an entrepreneur. But the land of the maple leaf and the moose is fast changing and could very soon grab the title of a start-up hub. Leveraging from a talent pool of highly skilled professionals and focusing on growth-focused business policies are making Canada the next destination for entrepreneurship.
Canada’s proximity to the US and Silicon Valley have motivated millions of immigrants to settle in cities such as Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and even British Columbia. This proximity also motivates entrepreneurs with unparalleled ease in trading. The physical infrastructure boasts of 550 ports, over 500 airports, 30,000 plus miles of track coverage and symbiotic trade agreements with the US and EU. Besides NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), the Canadian Government signed a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) enabling it to become the EU’s second most important trade partner after the US. Besides the EU and the US, access to developing South American markets is a lucrative opportunity for local manufacturers. Availability of natural resources such as commodities, natural gas, oil, timber and energy offer requisite manufacturing ease.
The Canadian business premise also gets a boost with the availability of skilled manpower and low tax burden. A PwC report ranks Canada first among G7 countries for ease in tax burden for small and medium-sized firms. In addition to taxes, start-ups will consider Canada’s expansive financial services sector as a motivating factor to address their funding concerns. This, because the Canadian financial sector ranks among the top ten in the world. In fact, local banks are ranked 7th going by the size of assets under management.
In recent years, Canada has pushed for reforms in the areas of innovation, gender parity, automation and an inclusive economy. Projecting an immigration-friendly attitude has opened avenues to diverse knowledge and labour pool for Canada. The 2019 Global Competitiveness Index from the World Economic Forum ranks it among top ten on several human-development indicators including macroeconomic stability. The education system that counts itself among the top 10 only complements the business ecosystem. The 2018 WEF also ranks Canada second best in terms of time required to start a business. The growth in emerging ventures in areas of fintech, semiconductors, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and Healthcare are the effects of a growing talent pool and friendly immigration policies.
For entrepreneurs, Canada’s start-up ecosystem can be summarized from a 2019 annual census conducted by StartupCan. Their study indicates that Canadian entrepreneurs maintained high-growth ambitions undeterred by the pandemic — 40.1 per cent expect an average annual growth rate of more than 20 per cent in business sales or total revenue for the next three years while 94 per cent planned to create at least one job in the next three years.