The Quebec Entrepreneur Program is an immigration pathway targeting immigrant entrepreneurs with the ability to establish a new business or acquire and operate an existing business. Successful applicants are able to immigrate to Quebec, where they will either carry out their business project. As with all of Quebec’s immigration pathways this program allows applicants to apply for a certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ – Québec selection certificate). Upon receiving a CSQ, an applicant becomes eligible to submit an official application for Canadian permanent residence.
In order to be eligible, applicants must settle in Quebec to create and operate a business which is supported by a service offer from a business accelerator, a business incubator, or a university entrepreneurship centre. The business project may be undertaken alone, or with others, up to three of whom can be foreign nationals applying to the same immigration program. There is no strict definition for the types of organizations who are able to support through a service offer. However, generally the following definitions should guide applicants:
- Business accelerator: An organization with an establishment in Quebec that offers support services, particularly assistance seeking financing, to entrepreneurs whose projects aim to grow innovative businesses.
- Business incubator: An organization with an establishment in Quebec that offers support services to entrepreneurs who seek to create innovative businesses.
- University entrepreneurship centre : An organization administered by a university institution at the university level that provides coaching services to entrepreneurs.
The service offer providing organization must demonstrate their capacity to support the candidate and their business project. The service offer must present the ways in which this support will occur, addressing the following elements:
- Proposed support plan: List and description of services offered to the candidate.
- Operating plan: Detailed budget of the service offer and the schedule of activities.
- Expertise as a business accelerator, business incubator, or university entrepreneurship centre: the skills and achievements related to the entrepreneur’s project.
The candidate must present their application in the form of a business plan to Quebec. The candidate must complete all required forms as listed on the website of the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion du Québec (MIDI). Foreign nationals interested in applying under Stream One of the Entrepreneur Program will need to obtain the passing score of 41 points under all factors in the Quebec Economic Class selection grid for the Quebec Entrepreneur Program in order to be considered for selection.
Candidates under Stream One of the Quebec Entrepreneur Program can obtain points for factors such as education level, areas of training, age, language proficiency in French and English, and stay and family in Quebec. There are no additional points awarded for applicants with a spouse or common-law partner.
In order to be eligible for this stream, the candidate must settle in Quebec to create a new business, or acquire an existing business, and manage the business operations. Foreign nationals interested in applying under Stream Two of the Quebec Entrepreneur Program will need to obtain the passing score of 81 points in all 13 factors under Quebec’s Economic Class selection grid to be considered for selection.
Candidates under Stream Two of Quebec’s Entrepreneur Program are awarded points for factors that include education level, areas of training, age, language proficiency in French and English, and stay and family in Quebec.
Successful applicants will have to make two financial deposits as part of their application:
(1) a security deposit of CAD $200,000 serving as insurance that the business will be created; to be refunded when the business plan is carried out successfully;
(2) a startup deposit that must be used to set up the business. The startup deposit is CAD $300,000 for businesses created in Montreal and CAD $200,000 for business created outside of Montreal. All applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Have net assets of at least $900,000 CAD that have been legally obtained with, where applicable, a spouse or common-law partner if they are accompanying the applicant.
- The application must be presented in the form of a business plan.
- If the applicant is creating a new business, they must own and control at least 25% of its equity capital. If the applicant is acquiring an existing business, they must own and control at least 51% of its equity capital.
- The business cannot be involved in the following activities: payday loans, cheque cashing, pawnbroking, real estate development, real estate or insurance brokerage, production/distribution/sales of pornographic or sexually explicit products or services.
- An acquired business must have been in operation during the five years prior to an application.
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