Immigrants to Canada make up nearly 20% of the population, but face significant disparities in many areas of daily life. The income gap between newcomers and Canadian-born employees is growing, and more recent immigrants are not faring as well as those in the past.
Entrepreneurship can be a strategy to overcome income disparities, but many immigrants have difficulty accessing mainstream business development supports. The Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers and the Montréal Community Loan Association have specialized in entrepreneurship supports for immigrants, and their successful programs have generated some unique insights.
This session presents the lessons from these two effective models of community services for immigrant entrepreneurship and consider the implications for improving immigrant settlement and integration in Canada.
- Dennis Chute, Wildman Institute
Serial entrepreneur, Dennis is CEO of Wildman Enterprises, where he created and is the lead facilitator of a training program for immigrants who want to start their own companies. The Entrepreneurship for Immigrants program is offered in partnership with the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers and has graduated approximately 120 students, with more than 50% in business. Dennis also serves on the board of several non-profit organizations and teaches board development and leadership training.
- Jacqueline Bazompora, Montréal Community Loan Association
Jacqueline is Coordinator of the Cercles d’emprunt de l’Ile de Montréal (CEIM), delivering business plan writing courses and coaching students through their business start-up process. Building on the well-established loan-circle model, in its first year the CEIM has trained 41 participants in six loan circles, with five businesses started.
- Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers http://emcn.ab.ca/
- Wildman Institute http://www.wildmaninstitute.org
- Montréal Community Loan Association http://www.acemcreditcommunautaire.qc.ca/en
- Case Studies of Immigrant Social Enterprises across Canada, Canadian CED Network, 2010
- Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Creating Wealth for Canadian Communities, Maytree Foundation, 2012
- DIY: Immigrant Entrepreneurs are Doing it for Themselves, North York Community House, 2013
- Catalogue of Immigrant Social Enterprises across Canada, Canadian CED Network, 2010
- Immigrant Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship in the Greater Toronto Area, Maytree Foundation and Metcalf Foundation, 2011
- Creating Opportunities, Optimizing Possibilities: Immigrant and Refugee Co-operatives in Canada, Canadian CED Network, 2004
- Upholding the Canadian Promise: Recommendations for a CED Approach to Settlement Challenges, Canadian CED Network, 2007