How Nigeria Entrepreneurs Can Start a Business In Ontario, Canada


Are you an entrepreneur in Nigeria looking to start or purchase a business in Canada? If so, the Ontario Entrepreneur Success Initiative (ESI) may be the right program for you. 

In this article, we acknowledge the large entrepreneurial talent pool from Nigeria that aligns with the advantages of the Ontario Entrepreneur Success Initiative.

Created to bring the benefits of business immigration to regions outside of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), the ESI offers extensive services to help identify business opportunities and apply to the Entrepreneur Stream of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). 

International Entrepreneurs Have a Fast Track Immigration Program to Ontario

The Ontario Entrepreneur Success Initiative is a fast-track immigration program aimed at attracting immigrant entrepreneurs to regions of Ontario outside of the GTA. This program can help you acquire a work permit and permanent residency in Ontario earlier than many other business immigration streams in Canada.

Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program – Entrepreneur Success Initiative

The ESI is an initiative under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), which is the province of Ontario’s economic immigration program. The OINP aims to attract and retain skilled workers, international students, and business entrepreneurs to Ontario to help build the economy and create employment.

OINP Entrepreneur Success Initiative gives Ontario entrepreneurs options for succession planning

If you are a business owner in Ontario looking to sell your business, the OINP Entrepreneur Success Initiative can connect you with international entrepreneurs who are interested in buying a business in Ontario. Nigeria has a large talent pool of successful entrepreneurs. The OINP ESI can be a great option for succession planning and ensuring that your business continues to thrive after you retire.

Ontario Government funds initiative to help Ontario business owners sell their businesses to immigrant entrepreneurs

The Ontario government is committed to supporting the growth of the economy in the province. One way they are doing this is by funding the Ontario Entrepreneur Success Initiative, which helps connect Ontario business owners with immigrant entrepreneurs who are interested in purchasing a business in Ontario.

Low Language Threshold

One of the interesting advantages of the ESI is that the language requirement is lower than other entrepreneur and skilled worker streams offering permanent residence to Canada. Participants in the ESI require language ability in English or French at minimum Canadian Language Benchmark 4 in reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

Personal Net Worth

Another advantage of the ESI is the required net worth. The ESI requires a net worth of $400,000, which is significantly lower than the net worth requirement of $800,000 for the Entrepreneur Stream of the OINP when investing in a business inside the GTA.

The Process

Stage 1: Submit an expression of interest (EOI). If successful you will be invited to an interview.  If you pass the interview you will be invited to sign a performance bond and you will receive a support letter for you to apply for a work permit.  

Stage 2:  Establish your business project in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) within 20-months of arriving in Canada.  

Stage 3: Submit a report with documentation confirming you have met the terms of your performance bond and apply for permanent residence nomination under OINP ESI program.

Stage 4: With a nomination certificate from Ontario, submit an application for Canadian permanent residence with IRCC.  

Processing Time

Successful applicants can relocate to Canada on a work permit within approximately 12-months from submitting an expression of interest.  Successful applicants who meet their terms and conditions of temporary admission to Canada can expect to receive permanent residence within 24-36 months.

Quality of Life is High Outside the GTA

The ESI looks to attract entrepreneurs to regions outside of the GTA. Some of Canada’s most sought-after places to live are outside the GTA. These areas generally have a lower cost of living and can provide a high quality of life. If you’re looking for big city life, there are plenty of options outside of the GTA, including Ottawa, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Kingston.

Entrepreneurs Get Help Along the Way

The Entrepreneur Success Initiative is administered by the Toronto Business Development Centre (TBDC). The TBDC team of experts will help the foreign investor up until they submit their application. They will assist in helping an investor find the right business to buy or identify new businesses that will benefit a community outside the GTA. TBDC experts will also give resources for interested candidates to help prepare their expression of interest application for submission to the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program.

Increased Visibility

Entrepreneurs who participate in the ESI program can benefit from increased visibility. The program promotes its participants’ businesses through its website, social media channels, and other marketing channels.

This increased visibility can help entrepreneurs reach a broader audience and attract new customers.

In conclusion, the Ontario Entrepreneur Success Initiative helps attract immigrant entrepreneurs to regions outside of the Greater Toronto Area.

Through the ESI, TDBC offers services to help prospective immigrants and business owners connect. TDBC will:

  • Identify business opportunities outside the Greater Toronto Area.
  • Market those opportunities to potential international entrepreneurs.
  • Support entrepreneurs interested in either establishing a business or buying an existing business outside the GTA.
  • Match entrepreneurs to business opportunities.
  • Help candidates create expressions of interest in high-quality applications to the OINP Entrepreneur Stream.

If you are an entrepreneur in Nigeria with interest to settle in the province of Ontario, look no further than the ESI under OINP.


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