Support for Self-Employed New Canadians

The Cause

The project will help younger and newer self-employed immigrants improve and accelerate business success in the Edmonton area. It will collect and share information on best practices of successful self-employed New Canadians. Research participants and their peers will benefit from having an historical perspective and positive role models as part of their business and ethical foundations. They will benefit from access to a unique space for new Canadian entrepreneurs to do online networking, learning, personal support, referrals, recommendations and endorsements, business mentoring, tap into health and wellness resources, webinars, and expand their horizons.

While the official statistics of the 2016 Census ( provide some insight into the demographic and economic nature of new immigrants, a more holistic portrait of these individuals is required, one that can shed light on the current population, the challenges they face in business, the needs of individuals, families and the broader community and critically important, their experiences as well as their contributions to the economic and productive life of our city.

Integration is a multi-dimensional two way process. Integration must occur at the individual level, but is also impacted by the societal forces that shape an individual’s immigration experience. Some of these factors are within the grasp of individuals and their communities, but others are shaped by events and experiences that lie beyond the control of the individual and are the result of policies, laws and social and cultural norms from the broader community.

Together, these forces shape the experiences of immigrants, those that work with them and the communities they are a part of. For these reasons, our pilot project seeks to identify and take a snap-shot as to how these communities of individuals are doing in, establishing businesses and economic activities and contributing to the economic activity and well-being of our city. See:

Who Will it Benefit?

This project will benefit New Canadian entrepreneurs who are seeking a stronger connection with the Edmonton area business community. This includes immigrants from all sources. New Canadians often face additional barriers in finding work and in establishing businesses. Meanwhile, the portion of the workforce working short term gigs is expected to grow to about 40% by 2025. At the same time, there is growing evidence that Canadian business owners prefer to do business with people they know and trust. New Canadian entrepreneurs usually arrive without a reputation in the business community. Newcomers are often treated with skepticism.

The project research will help plan and set up services that will enable self-employed New Canadians to locate local suppliers, partners and customers. In particular, younger New Canadian entrepreneurs and new start-ups will benefit most, as they are setting down patterns of success using best practices collected from more established entrepreneurs and services designed specifically to help them in the Edmonton area economy.

We will follow up research with a presentation of findings such as a short video documentary or vignettes intended to encourage other members of the new immigrant communities to become involved in shaping their business and entrepreneurial journeys through Wayfinders Business Cooperative and other venues. We seek to collect as much information as possible to enable us to contribute to a better understanding of these communities in Edmonton and improve their future outlook.

Participants and the Project Team will be required to sign a “Confidentiality” form. Responses will be aggregated to protect the confidentiality of research participants and service providers. All questions, recruitment strategies and methodologies will be available to anyone who might be interested in the ethics and confidentiality of the project.

Immigrant entrepreneurs will get 1) an historical perspective on local business stories and positive role models; 2) trial access to Wayfinders Business Cooperative and enjoy the online software services; 3) access to research results.