STUDY DESCRIPTION

Considering the high levels of newcomer arrivals to Ontario, and some preliminary evidence around their entrepreneurial activities, the goals of this research project are to examine the level of entrepreneurial activity among newcomers in the Greater Toronto Area and to examine the regulatory framework governing entrepreneurship in Ontario in terms of incentives and impediments to newcomers’ entrepreneurship. The information gathered will be used to develop and test out a web-based resource for newcomers on establishing and scaling-up a business. The resource kit will be hosted by Magnet, a not-for-profit, data-driven, social innovation founded by Ryerson University, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

As the province of destination for more than 38 percent of Canada’s newcomers (immigrants and refugees), it is important for Ontario to benefit from this additional human resource potential (Statistics Canada, 2017b). There is ample research showing that newcomers are critical to Canada’s prosperity through their positive effect on labour market stability and long-term growth (Momani, 2016). While the majority of Canada’s immigrants are selected on the basis of a merit-based system, refugees are accepted on the basis of humanitarian considerations, and this has often led to the contributions of refugees to Ontario’s economy being overlooked as the public discourse turns to the popular perception of newcomers as a drain on our resources. It is time to change this conversation in the light of emerging evidence of newcomer success stories and accounts of self-motivated entrepreneurial activities (Cohn & Adebayo, 2016).

The goals of this proposed project are:

(1) to examine the level of entrepreneurial activity amongst newcomers in Ontario

(2) to explore the pathways to and the role of social capital in these newcomers’ entrepreneurial activities

(3) to understand the barriers faced by newcomer entrepreneurs seeking to scale up their businesses

(4) to examine the regulatory framework governing entrepreneurship in Ontario in terms of incentives and impediments, and how these affect newcomers’ entrepreneurial activities in particular

(5) to use information gathered throughout the life of the project to develop and test out a web-based resource for newcomers which will in simple language present information related to establishing and scaling-up a business

The aim of the resource developed from this project will be to empower newcomers to make choices which enhance their economic security and ultimately support their economic integration in Canada.