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How To Start A Small Business In Canada From India

As of 2021, the Indo-Canadian population in Canada numbers approximately 1.86 million, making it a large and thriving community. 

And most come here to start a business.

Starting a small business in Canada from India can be an exciting, yet daunting experience. 

This article will provide you with the necessary steps and advice to start a successful business in a new country.

It will guide you through all the stages of setting up your business, including researching the Canadian market, finding the right resources, and understanding any legal requirements. 

You will also learn about industry trends and government support to help make your venture successful.

Business Immigration Options from India

Several business immigration options are available for business owners and entrepreneurs from India who wish to settle in Canada. 

One such option is the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) which enables established businesses from India to expand to Canada by moving their companies and teams to Canada. 

Upon arriving in Canada on ICT work permits, Indian nationals can access various pathways to permanent residency in Canada after one year of employment.

Entrepreneur Work Permits (C11) are also available for entrepreneurs, high net-worth individuals, and experienced managers in India who want to invest in a Canadian business or start their own business in Canada. 

Individuals holding this type of work permit can transition to permanent residence after one year of running their businesses in Canada.

  • The Start-Up Visa (SUV) allows up to five founders of a start-up to immigrate to Canada on a permanent basis if they meet the program’s requirements. However, the program has rigorous requirements and is highly selective of who can qualify.
  • Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) also offer pathways for Indian entrepreneurs to invest, work and settle permanently in a particular province in Canada. The Entrepreneur streams of Ontario PNP and British Columbia PNP remain the most popular PNP programs among Indian entrepreneurs.
  • The Owner-Operator LMIA Program, which was once popular among entrepreneurs and investors from India, was cancelled by the Canadian government in April 2021. Investors and entrepreneurs from India can now use the regular LMIA pathway or achieve the same results by using the Entrepreneur Work Permit option mentioned above.

Related: 9 Expert Tips For Starting An eCommerce Business In Canada

Top Business Opportunities in Canada For Indian Immigrants

For Indian residents looking to immigrate to Canada through existing business immigration programs, businesses in various sectors would be worth considering. 

India has robust Information Technology (IT), Professional Services, and Trade sectors that offer promising opportunities. 

Unsurprisingly, many ambitious and forward-thinking professionals from these sectors opt for Canada as their next business destination as their businesses thrive.

1 – Information Technology

Canada’s business-friendly environment is a welcoming space for software development and IT consulting companies. 

The National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) from India has an ongoing partnership with the Canadian government and considers Canada as one of the best countries for Indian IT businesses to expand.

Related: How To Start A Small Home Business in Ontario

2 – Professional Services

The Canadian Professional Services sector is globally recognized for HR consulting and finance sectors. 

The HR consulting companies are experiencing a significant surge in business opportunities due to the shift in the workforce to non-traditional work environments. 

Also, the thriving Canadian finance sector is attracting many Indian entrepreneurs and professionals.

Related: Exploring the Digital Marketing Industry in Canada

3 – Trades

India’s strong importation relationship with Canada has been beneficial for many Indo-Canadian businesses. 

The ongoing negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement signify this partnership. The trade activity between the two countries is impressive, with Indian imports in Canada reaching 4.8 billion in 2021.

How To Start A Business In Canada From India: 5 Steps

1. Research the Canadian Market

Before starting a small business in Canada, it is essential to conduct thorough research on the Canadian market. 

This research will help you identify potential gaps and opportunities in the market, which can ultimately lead to the success of your business. 

Knowing your target audience and their needs is crucial for creating a successful business strategy.

One way to conduct market research is by analyzing industry reports and statistics. 

These reports can provide valuable insights into consumer behavior, market trends, and competition. 

Surveys or focus groups with potential customers can also offer important information about their preferences and buying habits.

Another effective method for researching the Canadian market is by attending industry events or conferences. 

These events provide opportunities for networking with other professionals in your field while gaining knowledge about current trends and best practices within the industry. 

A thorough research on the Canadian market will give you a competitive advantage when launching your small business in Canada from India. 

2. Legal Requirements and Paperwork

When starting a small business in Canada as an Indian entrepreneur, it is important to understand the legal requirements and paperwork involved. 

One of the first steps is to choose a business structure, which can be either sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation. 

Each structure has unique pros and cons and will determine factors such as ownership and liability.

To register a business in Canada, entrepreneurs must obtain a Business Number (BN) from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). 

The BN is required for tax purposes and for registering for other government programs. Depending on the type of business structure chosen, additional registrations may be required at both federal and provincial levels.

In addition to registering the business itself, there are other legal requirements that entrepreneurs must comply with when starting a small business in Canada. 

This includes obtaining any necessary permits or licenses, adhering to employment standards legislation if hiring employees, and ensuring compliance with Canadian privacy laws if collecting personal information from customers or clients. 

Understanding these legal requirements and completing all necessary paperwork can help ensure a smooth start to your small business venture in Canada. 

3. Funding and Financing

When starting a small business in Canada from India, it is important to understand the various funding and financing options available clearly. 

One of the most common ways to secure funding is through loans from banks, credit unions, or other financial institutions. 

Researching different loan options and comparing interest rates is important before selecting the best one for your business.

Another option for financing your small business in Canada could be through government grants or programs specifically designed for entrepreneurs. 

These programs are often offered by both federal and provincial governments and provide funding support for research and development, marketing initiatives, hiring employees, etc. 

Applying for these grants can be time-consuming but worthwhile if you meet their eligibility requirements.

Crowdfunding has also become an increasingly popular way for small businesses to raise funds in Canada. 

This involves creating a campaign on a crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter or Indiegogo where people can donate money towards your project or product idea in exchange for rewards such as products or services once they are launched. 

However, keep in mind that this option requires strong marketing skills to create successful campaigns that resonate with potential backers. 

4. Marketing and Branding

Marketing and branding are crucial for establishing and growing a small business in Canada, especially when you are starting from India. 

Marketing helps to create awareness about your brand and reach potential customers. 

On the other hand, branding helps to differentiate your business from competitors and build trust with your target audience.

One effective marketing strategy is to create a website that showcases your products or services. 

This website should be easy to navigate, visually appealing, and provide all necessary information about your business. 

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram can also help you connect with potential customers.

In terms of branding strategies, it’s important to develop a unique brand identity that reflects your company’s values. 

This includes creating a memorable logo, tagline or slogan that people can associate with your brand. It’s also important to consistently use this identity across all marketing materials including packaging design or advertising campaigns. 

A strong brand identity can help establish credibility in the market and increase customer loyalty over time. 

Related: The Best Website Builder In Canada For Small Businesses

5. Hiring Employees

When starting a small business in Canada from India, it is essential to have a team of dedicated employees who can help you grow and succeed. 

However, recruiting and managing employees effectively can be challenging for new business owners. 

Therefore, following some tips that can help you hire the right candidates and manage them efficiently is crucial.

First, before hiring any employee in Canada, understand the country’s labor laws and regulations

You must obtain a government-issued business number (BN) and register your business with the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA). 

Additionally, it is required by law to provide your employees with employment contracts that specify their job description, salary, benefits package, work hours and other relevant details.

To ensure effective recruitment of employees for your small business in Canada from India, it is recommended to create a clear job description outlining what kind of skills are required for the position. 

This will attract potential candidates who possess the necessary qualifications for the job. 

Besides this, online recruitment platforms such as LinkedIn or Glassdoor may also be beneficial when looking for suitable candidates.

Once you have hired your team of employees for your small business in Canada from India, managing them effectively can be done through various methods such as providing regular training sessions on new processes or technologies at work. 

Praise good performance publicly while offering constructive feedback privately if there are areas requiring improvement. 


In conclusion, starting a small business in Canada as an Indian entrepreneur can be challenging but also rewarding. 

It is important to conduct thorough research and understand the market before making any decisions. 

One of the key factors to consider is obtaining the necessary permits and licenses required to operate a business in Canada. This will ensure that you are compliant with Canadian laws and regulations.

Another important aspect is having a solid business plan that outlines your goals, strategies, and financial projections. 

This will help you stay organized and focused on achieving success for your small business. 

It is also recommended to take advantage of resources such as government funding programs, networking events, and mentorship opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Overall, with dedication, hard work, and proper planning Indian entrepreneurs can successfully start and grow their small businesses in Canada. 

By following these key points covered in this blog post one can have a greater chance of success while navigating through the challenging waters of entrepreneurship in Canada from India. 

Related: 11 Best Websites To Buy Small Businesses In Canada

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