The Alberta government has launched a program aimed at supporting immigrant entrepreneurs in the province.
The government is providing $336,000 over two years to the program, which is being delivered by Business Link, a non-profit dedicated to helping entrepreneurs develop a business plan.
In a statement, the government said that immigrants face additional hurdles to starting a business, including language barriers, understanding local business practices, and limited access to professional networks. While open to all immigrant entrepreneurs, the program will have an enhanced focus on immigrant women and immigrant entrepreneurs in rural Alberta. Status of Women Canada committed $30,000 of the total financing towards the development of targeted partnership activities and training specific to immigrant women.
“One of our greatest strengths as a province lies in the entrepreneurial spirit found across our diverse population,” said Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade. “We are committed to helping open doors for new Albertans who want to start or grow a business, and programs like the Immigrant Entrepreneur Program will do just that – equip our new neighbours with the tools they need to run successful businesses that actively enrich our communities.”
The program will provide one-on-one support for founders, immigrant business guidebooks and resources, and specific outreach that focuses on small business service providers and organizations in rural Alberta.
“As an entrepreneur who ran a business in my native Cameroon and always wanted to do the same in Canada, it was a very different pathway to starting a business in Edmonton,” said Frankline Agbor, publisher and founder of Diversity Magazine and founder of the Diversity Centre. “I have been fortunate to get the much needed continuous support from Business Link, and Microbusiness Training Centre Small Business Training Programs.”