A report released today by YES and the Association of Canadian Studies shows that about 40 percent of recent English-speaking immigrants who own a business or plan to launch one would not recommend it to others. According to la Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the rate of entrepreneurial intent among immigrants in Québec is 32.3%, compared to 18.8% among the rest of the adult population (2015).

“Lack of funding, taxes, limited business community networks and lack of knowledge of laws and regulations are the top four obstacles for newcomers,” said Jack Jedwab , President of the Associations for Canadian Studies. “Nine out of every 10 immigrants who intend to launch a small or medium business give up before achieving their objective. Local governments and community-based providers must ensure that essential business services and resources are readily available for entrepreneurs -- including English-speaking immigrants who own businesses or who plan to launch businesses in Quebec in the near future.”

The Opportunities & Obstacles Facing English-Speaking Newcomers Launching Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Quebec research study was designed to identify the key barriers and opportunities faced by English-speaking newcomers -- recent immigrants who arrived in the province within the past five years -- when launching or planning to launch SMEs in Quebec. Results were compiled from an on-line survey and two focus groups with participants originating from 52 different countries.

The study was funded by the Government of Canada, Innovation Science and Economic Development (formerly Industry Canada). A copy of the report is available by clicking here.

The report recommends a five-part action plan including the following:

  • Increase government funding to develop English-language services and supports, such as training and workshops, for recently arrived immigrant-entrepreneurs;
  • Expand existing collaborations with community partners to increase the current reach of entrepreneurial services;
  • Offer peer-to-peer support and networking opportunities and provide mentoring services to new and prospective business owners;
  • Improve access to finances/startup capital;
  • Restructure existing tax laws to facilitate new business growth and development in Quebec.


“English-speaking immigrants to Quebec who are interested in starting a business need more support and guidance,” said Iris Unger, Executive Director of YES. “The goal of our research was to better understand why so many potential entrepreneurs give up and what challenges existing business owners have. Much more can be done to support business owners and entrepreneurs.”

YES (Youth Employment Services) provides English-language support services to help Quebecers find employment and start businesses.
The YES centre is located right across McGill University at 666 Sherbrooke W. (corner Robert-Bourassa) suite 700. Visit YESMontreal.ca for more information.