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Home Small Business Are you a newcomer in Toronto and looking to start your business?

Are you a newcomer in Toronto and looking to start your business?

Are you a newcomer in Toronto and looking to start your business?

Access to business resources can be extremely advantageous for newcomer entrepreneurs looking to turn their business ideas into reality. This article puts the spotlight on some organizations that offer support to newcomer entrepreneurs in Toronto.

To get you started, Andrea Hazell, who migrated to Canada from the Caribbean and serves as the president of the Scarborough Business Association, says: “You’ve got to find that market niche that you want to solve, and explore that and kill it to death.” And how do you find that niche? “Reach out to your network and work with them. They can help you narrow that down to specific objectives. Then, reach out to suitable organizations for consultation,” adds Andrea and swears by the power of networking and community to get things moving. 

Also read: Starting a business in Canada? Here’s what you need to know

Entrepreneurs who wish to know more about what it takes for small business owners to succeed in Canada can sign up for courses at Centennial College. “An entrepreneurial mindset is important, no matter what you do with your career or in your life,” said Gabriella Zoltan-Johan, from the college’s Centre of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “We help people understand how to develop their business alongside and in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which are so important for all of us today.”

Over at Toronto Metropolitan University, a startup incubator called The DMZ provides entrepreneurs with assistance throughout their journey, beginning with ideation. “We help support them to help develop that idea,” said Rose Ghamari, The DMZ’s Manager for Startup Recruitment. “We have our Launchpad entrepreneurship program for ideation-stage startups and entrepreneurs. This program is specifically designed to help entrepreneurs at that stage. We also have specific programming for women entrepreneurs and black entrepreneurs.”

Skills for Change, a renowned non-profit organization serving immigrants and refugees in Canada, meanwhile, also offers more than 25 programs for newcomers. “A lot of our programs, including our entrepreneurship program, are really looking not just at how we provide skills-based learning, but what are the wraparound supports required on the entrepreneurship journey,” explained Nidhi Khanna, Vice President of Program Operations at Skills for Change. 

Also watch: Finding success with a small business in New Brunswick

Launched by the City of Toronto, the Small Business Enterprise Centre offers guidance and tools that entrepreneurs require to start and grow their businesses, including one-on-one consultation, themed forums, business webinars, training modules, and networking events. “In the realm of entrepreneurship, we work very closely with organizations that work with newcomers and are interested in starting their own businesses,” said Kara Vijayasingham, Community Development Officer at the Toronto Newcomer Office. “We also prioritize newcomer entrepreneurs when we are procuring our goods and services for the work that we do.”

Newcomer entrepreneurs, under the age of 39 who are looking for financing, can secure collateral-free loans from Futurpreneur, which will also provide their clients with a mentor to take them on their entrepreneurship journey. “You can get up to $25,000 in financing if you have no credit history at all in Canada, you can get up to $60,000, and even up to $100,000, in the case of black entrepreneurs, if you do have credit history,” said Julia Reiter, Business Development Manager for Southwestern Ontario at Futurpreneur. “When you’re just starting out, and when you are in that age bracket, it is not common to have collateral,” she added. “With collateral-free loans, we take the hit, so we work very hard to make sure that your business is successful.”

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